Mother of daughter killed by accused street racers shares mourning – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
North Texas Police will be in force this holiday weekend, targeting not only drunk drivers, but also street runners and those who invade intersections and freeways for car stunts.
A mother from Pleasant Grove shares her story and asks street runners to consider the consequences.
“I want people to see,” said Marisol Gomez sitting on a bench in Laurel Oaks Cemetery where she asked NBC 5 to share her story.
“One person running, they took my life, taking my daughter’s life,” she said.
She visits her daughter’s grave three to four times a week, sometimes her younger daughters ask to see their sister.
Olivia Mendez was only 9 years old.
Two years ago this week, Olivia and her family were driving along Lake June Road in Pleasant Grove.
They had just celebrated Olivia’s graduation ceremony.
Police said three drivers were racing on the busy stretch of road when one of the drivers crashed into the family’s car.
Olivia’s stepfather was driving and was seriously injured, as were her mother in the passenger seat and her then three-year-old sister in the back.
Gomez said Olivia was thrown from her seat belt and from the car by the impact.
The pilot’s car, she said, was going over 160 km / h.
Her injured stepfather set off in frantic search for the girl and saw a crowd gathering near a nearby STOP sign.
“He hugged her, she was face down on the ground and she was just taking very deep breaths,” Gomez said through her tears. “But she was already gone.
Two of the suspects, Hector Camarena and Diego Gaytan are each serving sentences of five years in prison. Camarena accepted a plea deal.
The main suspect, Ricky Jackson, is awaiting his trial scheduled for July. Jackson’s case has seen many delays, in part because of the pandemic.
“The detective told me that [Jackson] said he just wanted to show some punks what it was like to have a race car, ”Gomez said.
Anger and grief have taken their toll on Olivia’s family.
There is now another plot nearby. Olivia’s father committed suicide in February.
“Olivia was his only daughter and he was fair – we were all hurt – but he was just done,” Gomez said. “Now he’s here and she’s here and it’s just a never-ending wound caused by some crazy thing someone did.”
Olivia’s memory has not been forgotten.
His school, Henry B. Gonzalez Elementary in Pleasant Grove, will be holding a private dedication ceremony on campus next week in honor of the brilliant student beloved by all.
“She just stood out,” said fourth-grade teacher Elena Cardoza. “One day, how can I help? What can I do for you?’ help others in the classroom. “
Cardoza remembers Olivia as a helper, a nice student, and someone other students still talk about.
“That’s why it’s so hard to talk about her in the past tense because her essence still lives so, so much in others and memories: Oh, she would have done this or that’s what she did so we should strive for this behavior, this good character.
Efforts to curb illegal street racing, stunts and takeovers are underway in the city of Dallas.
The police department has formed a special task force targeting illegal activities.
A bill is being passed by the state legislature that would seize and confiscate the cars of street racers if someone is injured, under the influence or if it is a second offense.
Olivia was just shy of her 10e birthday. She loved cheerleading, she wanted to be a doctor someday.
She loved that her mom put her hair in a ponytail with curls.
“She always said she was Princess Jasmine because of her long dark hair,” Gomez said. “She was a good little girl with the funniest laugh and the perfect smile. She was perfect.”