Family and friends are mourning a 17-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother who died in a collision at a dark, rural intersection south of Monroe on Saturday night.
Alexandra Ruiz Diaz and her brother, Luis Miguel Geronimo Diaz, were killed in the wreck, according to a GoFundMe page that had raised several thousand dollars for their funerals before an anonymous donor on Tuesday paid for the funerals in full.
“My kids were and are everything to me,” their father, Luis Miguel Geronimo, told The Charlotte Observer in Spanish on Facebook on Tuesday. “My entire life is gone with them.”
“They enjoyed going everywhere, it didn’t matter where,” he said. “They loved going out with me, and we enjoyed being together.”
Funeral services are planned for Saturday in Monroe.
“The parents and family are devastated and heartbroken over this loss,” Monroe resident Moriah Jenkins wrote on the fundraising site when she established the page.
Trooper: Car ‘broadsided’
The siblings died in a collision at Austin Road and West Sandy Ridge Road, south of Monroe, at about 9:30 p.m., WBTV reported. At least two cars were involved, the station reported, citing state troopers.
Alexandra and Luis were leaving their mother’s house to visit their father, according to the station.
The driver of a Ford Super Duty full-size pickup truck was traveling at “an excessive speed” when he “broadsided” the Chevrolet Malibu car driven by Alexandra, State Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce told the Observer on Wednesday.
Alexandra and Luis were killed instantly, Pierce said.
The collision hurled their car off the right shoulder of the road, where it hit a storage shed, Pierce said. The truck overturned at the intersection. Its driver and passenger were treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to the trooper.
Alexandra was northbound on Austin Road, just past a stop sign she had at the intersection, Pierce said. The pickup driver was westbound on 45-mph Sandy Ridge Road, he said.
Troopers are obtaining court warrants to download information from each vehicle to determine their speeds at impact, he said. That normally takes a week from the day of a wreck, he added.
Troopers know the pickup truck driver was going above the speed limit based on damage, but they won’t know how far above the limit until they obtain the data, according to Pierce. No charges have been filed, he said.
‘In our hearts forever’
Alexandra and Luis’ dad told the Observer that his daughter also loved her hair, and took care of it every day.
Alexandra attended Union County Early College, he said. The program is offered by the public school district on the campus of South Piedmont Community College.
“Alexandra y Miguel Diaz will remain in our hearts forever,” Adrien Porter, principal of the school, wrote on the siblings’ tribute page on the Holland Funeral Service and Crematory website.
Luis Miguel Geronimo said his son was in fifth grade at Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts in Monroe.
His son’s hobby was to paint, draw and make cardboard figures, Geronimo said. His son also ate a lot of pizza, according to Geronimo.
“What I admire about them is their nobility, their good heart,” he said. “Despite the fact that they were kids, they shared with others what they ate … and they were never rude.
“They took care of each other every time they went out in (the) car,” he said. “My son would tell his sister ‘Look at the light, it’s about to turn red.’ Before they headed out, my daughter would tell him to put on his seat belt. Yes, they took care of each other a lot.”
In reaction to a niece’s Facebook post Monday, Luis Miguel Geronimo, wrote: “My beautiful babies.”
In July, he posted a photo on Facebook of his children, saying, “My two great treasures.”
The children’s mother, Eva Diaz, couldn’t be reached Tuesday.
The siblings “were full of life,” cousin Moriah Cook told WBTV.
“Alex loved decorating her room,” Cook told the station. “She loved every dog. She loved her puppy. Luis loved gaming, and they were both ... just beautiful children.”
‘Such a blessing’
At noon Tuesday, Moriah Jenkins announced on GoFundMe that the anonymous donor had paid for the funerals in full. About $3,633 had been raised by 86 donors up to that point.
“It’s such a blessing to this family,” she wrote of the donor, after thanking the person.
And Jenkins thanked all those who also contributed. The money will help with the parents’ bills and other living expenses as they are off work due to their children’s deaths, she said.
“It is such a blessing and Most importantly thank you God for hearing our prayers,” Jenkins wrote on the page.
News editor Rogelio Aranda contributed to this story.