MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – Burned beyond recognition, a pick-up truck and an SUV sat on an isolated stretch of Interstate 20 in Mesquite Thursday morning.
Hours earlier, the pick-up had been carrying 27-year-old Krystle Carranza and her three children, 2-year-old Aleigha, 3-year-old Delaney, and 5-year-old Nevaeh.
Neveah had graduated from Pre-K Wednesday in their hometown of Tyler, and family members say she was eager to see her father, who was working construction in Denton. So, her mother packed the truck and headed west.
Mesquite police say somewhere near FM 470 she got turned around and entered I-20’s eastbound lanes, still headed westbound.
A state trooper and a Texas Department of Public Safety employee on the highway reportedly saw Carranza’s headlights and tried to catch up to flag her down. By the time they did, they say, she had already crashed head on into an SUV, causing both vehicles to burst into flames.
The witnesses tried to douse the flames with fire extinguishers, but authorities say they couldn’t save the five people trapped inside.
“We actually got the call at 3 a.m. and none of us have slept since then,” said Vanessa Contreras, Carranza’s niece.
Family members in Tyler say the mother of three was outgoing and so were her daughters.
“Anybody they saw or met, they would hug them or say they love them,” said Jessica Dominguez, another niece.
Relatives say Carranza also taught the girls Bible verses, writing scriptures and putting it on their bedroom walls. The oldest, Neveah, recently told family members she had a recurring dream.
“My mom asked her what was it. She said she was in Heaven with Jesus. And two weeks ago, she told her Dad the same thing. That she had another dream,” said Dominguez.
Her family believes it was a vision of where the little girl and her sisters are now.
“It makes me feel better knowing they’re angels of God – and I know they’re in a better place,” said Dominguez.
For the girls’ father and Carranza’s husband, Joe Carranza, though, the crash has been devastating. Relatives say several years ago, he lost his only son in a crash with a drunken driver. Family members say he now has no surviving children.
The driver of the SUV has not been identified.