Even the police officers were overwhelmed by the accident as they said, "It's tragic for the community. It’s tragic for our officers that respond to these incidents."
Death is hard to reckon with and when the unfortunate ordeal takes place on New Year's Eve, things cannot get worse. New Year's Eve is the time where families and friends get together to begin a new year with warmth and celebration but for one family, the beginning of the coming years would always remain the day of mourning.
According to People, seven children and an adult belonging to the same family lost their lives to an unspeakable tragedy. The children, who were between the age of 6 and 15 years, were traveling in a 2007 Ford on New Year's Eve at around 8 pm when it crashed head-on with a Dodge vehicle on the State Route 33 between Avenal and Coalinga, as per the Fresno County Coroner’s office and the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
The CHP revealed that the Dodge was being driven by a 28-year-old man identified as Daniel Luna, who was heading south on the highway when it suddenly veered into the dirt shoulder. In order to control the vehicle, Daniel overcorrected and swerved into the southbound lane, where it collided with the Ford that was being driven by a woman identified as Gabriela Verdin from California.
As a result of the crash, the truck was "fully engulfed in flames." The CHP told AP that the Dodge came to a stop blocking the two lanes of the highway. All seven children in the car, as well as Gabriela and Daniel, died on the spot.
Officials are investigating the tragic accident to see if there was any involvement of drugs or alcohol. However, they've determined that Gabriela's Ford had only six seat belts available. The New York Times reported that according to Capt. Kevin Clays of the California Highway Patrol, traveling without a seatbelt creates a "far greater" risk of severe injury or death. "It's tragic for the community. It’s tragic for our officers that respond to these incidents," he said.
The Verdin family is heartbroken and devastated because the lives of 8 loved ones were taken away all at once. They have created a GoFundMe campaign in hopes that they'll be able to collect enough funds for the funeral services.
Reyna Verdin, who started the campaign, wrote on the page, "On January 1, 2021 our families (Verdin, Pulido, and Ayala) lost eight members in a tragic accident. Gabriela Verdin, Brooke Pulido, Giada Pulido, Jonah Pulido, Mia Pulido, Daniella Ayala, Camila Ayala, and Anthony Ayala were taken from us while returning home."
"While we cannot begin to understand the reason we lost them all at once, we are burdened with the reality of having to lay eight family members to rest at one time. We take solace in knowing that they left this world together."
They added, "We humbly request any help you can provide the family with memorial costs to allow them to focus their time on grieving. We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers from everyone in the community; we know that Gaby and all the kids were loved and we hope to honor that memory forever."
The page has successfully raised $89,475.