A family vacation turned tragic when a mother and her young son were hit and killed by a suspected impaired driver, police in Tennessee told news outlets.
Ana Posso Rodriguez, 41, her husband and their 1-year-old child were on vacation in Chattanooga when an “out-of-control” minivan struck them on a sidewalk Nov. 25, WJXT reported, citing the city’s police department.
Relatives said the family was visiting from Jacksonville, Florida, according to a GoFundMe. Rodriguez and her son, Jonathan Devia, died from their injuries.
“Ana and Jonathan were incredibly loving and caring and were always the life of the party,” family members wrote. “They will all be truly missed by all who knew them and were close to them.”
Ana’s husband, Octavio Devia, 40, was critically hurt and is in a coma, the GoFundMe page says.
Investigators said Randy Vega, 44, of Tampa was driving the minivan that hit the family of three before it crashed into a building, according to WTVC. He faces multiple charges including driving under the influence and vehicular homicide, police told the station.
“All of a sudden, we heard tires squeal and then we heard a boom,” an employee at a business next door told WTVC. “We felt the entire building shake almost like an earthquake.”
Locals are now pushing for changes to keep pedestrians safe after the tragic crash, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
David Smotherman, the owner of a nearby store, said camera footage showed two vehicles were speeding before the crash and neither would let the other merge, according to the newspaper. That’s when the van, driven by Vega, tried to cut in front of the truck and lost control, Smotherman said.
Police told the outlet they are investigating “to include learning the exact circumstances that occurred before, during, and after the crash.”
McClatchy News reached out to Chattanooga police Nov. 29 for more information and was awaiting a response.
Vega suffered minor injuries and was released from a hospital Wednesday, Nov. 29, Local 3 News reported. His first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5.