The last thing Jessica Gaspar shared with her mom was a New Year’s wish: “Que Dios nos me años juntos,” or, “May God give us more years together.”
The 20-year-old woman from Houston, Texas told KHOU News that her mother, 45-year-old Silvia Zavala, had traveled to Houston to spend New Year’s with family. On New Year’s Day, mother and daughter shared a hug and a wish for many years together. Then tragedy struck.
According to KPRC, Zavala went out on Tuesday to do some shopping before she had to make the long drive back home. That’s when a 14-year-old driver crashed into Zavala at more than 60 miles per hour.
The boy had taken his father’s truck without permission and had been driving around Houston with two friends, throwing eggs at other vehicles. At some point, one of the victims of the egg prank got angry and began chasing the teens. The adult driver allegedly pulled out a handgun and flashed it at the teens during the chase.
With the 14-year-old at the wheel, the teens fled the angry driver. They ran a red light at high speed and crashed into Zavala. Despite attempts to resuscitate her, the mom-of-two died at the scene. The teen driver suffered a broken ankle in the crash, but the other teens in the car had no serious injuries.
Concerned that she wasn’t answering their calls, Zavala’s family learned of the accident when they saw footage of the aftermath on Facebook. Gaspar told KPRC that she hurried to the scene after recognizing her mom’s car:
“When I got close to the truck, I saw bags, and I remembered she had those bags in there, so I knew it was her.”
“It happened, changed in a minute you know. Changed our lives in a minute,” Alex Solis, Zavala’s brother-in-law, told Fox 26. He added, “We were supposed to have a good time. We were waiting on New Year’s having a good time. Everything changed, you know.”
Gaspar told KPRC that her mother worked hard to raise her and her older brother: “She was a single mother, and she always taught me to stay strong and stay positive.”
The family is now asking questions about how the teen was able to take his father’s car, carry out the egg prank, and cause the accident. Zavala’s sister asked KHOU:
“We don’t wish harm on anyone. No one. But the parents … let’s take care of our kids. Where were those parents of those teens? If you know your son is a bad kid, you need to be on top of them. What are they up to? Who are they hanging out with? What are they doing?”
Police have tracked down the man who was chasing the teens, and he is cooperating with the investigation. The 14-year-old driver has been charged with murder. Gaspar told KHOU that she’s glad to see the driver face criminal charges:
“I feel bad for him. He’s just 14 years old but he took my entire life away from me. Even though he’s 14, he took my mom’s life away. He took it. And she was the only one I had.”
Authorities have not said whether the other teens in the car will be charged as well. Zavala’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs.