TOLLESON, Ariz. - Interstate 10 reopened in the Tolleson area after two little girls died in a crash involving a street sweeper early in the morning on June 24, according to the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety.
Authorities said a street sweeper fell off the Loop 101 overpass onto the I-10 freeway nearly 20 feet below, killing the two kids inside and injuring the driver. Officials say seatbelts were not being used.
"Speed might be a factor. We’re also looking into the possibility of impairment," said DPS Sergeant Jacob Melki.
A young girl believed to be 10 years old was thrown from the car onto the bridge and died at the hospital – she is Xenia. Another 8-year-old girl, Yulissa, died when she fell onto the roadway.
The driver, a woman in her 40s, is in critical condition after being pulled from the vehicle. Officials say she is the mother of the children, and was on her way to a job when the crash happened.
"There were two witnesses who saw the vehicle fall. They stopped immediately to help," said Sgt. Melki.
Authorities originally said one of the victims was a woman in her 20s, but later said that the victim was actually one of the kids. Authorities have not released the identities of the victims. Officials with the business that owns the sweeper said they are not in the right state of mind to talk about what happened.
‘They are going to be missed’
It's been a devastating couple of weeks for the Moreno family as they mourn the loss of Xenia and Yulissa.
On July 5, the Moreno family hosted a car wash as they raise money for the girls' funerals.
"We can't help but miss them already. Their presence was enlightening," the girls' sister, Yvonne Moreno, said. Adding, "I would say Yulissa was a little more outgoing. She was smaller, loved rainbows, colorful stuff. She was very girly. On the opposite hand, I had Xenia. She was more of a tomboy, but really sweet, down-to-earth girls."
On July 6, the family will be holding another car wash to help them with funeral expenses. It will start at 7:30 a.m. at 83rd Avenue and Van Buren Street.
"We're all really taking it hard. What can we say? We're without words that it happened so unexpectedly," Yvonne said.
She says she was just starting to build relationships with the girls as they were getting older.
"Sleepovers, going out to get snow cones, boba, shopping, things like that. Just building a sister bond and that's why it's a lot harder now because you can't help but to think of the memories. But, they were good memories and we took plenty of pictures so I have those at least with me," she said.