Ga. girl struck by van after Marlins game stable
MIAMI (AP) -- A 10-year-old Georgia girl struck by a minivan as her family left a Miami Marlins baseball game remained hospitalized and unaware that the crash killed three other relatives, family friends said Tuesday.
Magdeline Esther Diaz of Lawrenceville, Ga., has been hospitalized in Miami since the van jumped a curb and struck her family as they walked to their car outside Marlins Park on Saturday evening.
The girl's brother, 14-year-old Franklin Diaz Jr., and 53-year-old grandmother, Esther Terrero De Diaz, both of Lawrenceville, Ga., and a cousin from the Dominican Republic, 13-year-old Adriana Maria Diaz, all died at a hospital after the crash. Two others walking with the group, Terrero's husband and a family friend, were not injured.
In a picture snapped in Marlins Park during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the close-knit family smiled for the camera, with the baseball diamond behind them.
"There are no words to describe the affliction that has overtaken us," the Diaz family said in a statement.
The family was visiting friends in Miami and had been excited to see the Marlins play for the first time, said Edwin Abreau, who knew Terrero's husband, Abrahan Diaz, from their hometown of Bonao in the Dominican Republic.
Abreau and Abrahan Diaz reconnected through Facebook a couple months ago and had planned to meet at Abreau's home, but it wasn't until he saw the crash victims' names in local media reports Monday that Abreau knew something was wrong.
"When you know they are alone here, you can do nothing to try to recover the life, it's very hard, especially when you were waiting for them," Abreau said through tears at the Miami police headquarters.
Magdeline has had surgery and was hospitalized in stable condition, according to the family statement.
"She doesn't know the situation," Abreau said.
Franklin Diaz will be buried in Georgia, while Terrero and Adriana Diaz, who was Abrahan Diaz's youngest child, will be buried in the Dominican Republic, Abreau said.
The van's driver, 67-year-old Raul Herberto Ortega Arias of Miami, also died after the crash. Police said Tuesday that it still wasn't clear what caused Ortega to lose control of the vehicle.
In their statement, the Diaz family expressed condolences to Ortega's family. "There's a lot of forgiveness," said another family friend, Catarina Jimenez.
To cover the funeral expenses in the Caribbean country, the family has established a fund at BB&T bank branches. Donations can be made to the Abrahan Diaz & Esther Terrero Charitable Account.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)