TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Four sisters have died and several others have been injured in a single-vehicle wreck on Interstate 95 in Florida.
The crash happened Monday in Titusville, about 40 miles east of Orlando.
The Florida Highway Patrol says 15-year-old Amunya Cruz, 14-year-old Jasmine Cruz and 13-year-old Niashia Cruz were killed when a tire blew out in the SUV that their mother was driving, causing the vehicle to flip several times before crashing into a barrier wall. The siblings were not wearing seatbelts, officials said.
Eight people were taken to the hospital, including a fourth sister, 10-year-old Nadia Cruz, who died Tuesday.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 95 were closed for roughly an hour as paramedics worked to treat and transport the victims, some of them taken by helicopter.
Troopers said a toddler in a car seat was ejected from the vehicle and sent over a 20-foot tall barrier wall. Remarkably, the toddler survived and was taken to a hospital in Orlando, where he remains in stable condition.
The girls' lone surviving sibling, 9-year-old Shakara Cruz, remained hospitalized Tuesday, while their mother, 34-year-old Latorya Brown, was released from the hospital.
Family members said the mother took her five girls and her boyfriend's three nephews, as well as a cousin, to the beach as a celebration for her birthday.
Glenda Wright held back the tears, as she talked about the the tragic loss. She said she received a phone call from her daughter Monday night while she was sleeping. "She was just hysterical, screaming. I knew something had happened. She was screaming, 'Mom, Mom, I need you Mom! My kids, they gone, they gone!' I just jumped up and thought it was a dream and realized it wasn’t."
Wright said each of the girls had their own wonderful personalities. "Amunya, she had so many goals she set, she was doing so good. They was all doing so well in school. She was the oldest. And then Jazmin, she was always Jaz. She was in her own little world doing her own thing, and Niashia she was the middle girl she was separate, because she was the middle girl and then Nadia. Nadia, she was the most talkative one of all and she loved to talk and talk about everything."
Wright said she is trying to plan funerals for her four granddaughters and realizes it won’t be easy. She said many have already reached out to help her. "If they want to make donations, they can make donations at any Wells Fargo in the country, under the 'Cruz Girls Memorial Fund.' We just want to ask everybody to continue to pray for us all, and they will truly be missed."