Melrose family says last goodbye to young woman killed in Major Deegan Expressway crash

The family of the Melrose woman who was killed when the car she was riding in rear-ended a truck on the Major Deegan Expressway last Friday said their final goodbyes.

News 12 Staff

May 29, 2021, 10:45 PM

Updated 1,114 days ago


More than a week after Daybelis Lantigua died in the crash, her family is still coming to terms with it.
"Daybelis was the sweetest person in this world. Our hearts are destroyed because of this. We have no words," said Lantigua's mother, Maria Cepeda through translation by Lantigua's step-father, Osvaldo Nieves.
Cepeda said she feels "destroyed."
Killed two days before her 23rd birthday, Lantigua had recently received her bachelor's degree.
Her family said she was working on her real estate license.
"They had a close connection. She said she wanted to give her mother the world because her mother deserved it, so, she had a lot of dreams. She always say some day she would give her mother everything she needed," Nieves said.
Pictures of the car show the bottom is intact, which has raised questions if the truck that was rear-ended had the right collision guard on the back of it.
The truck owners have said they'll make the truck available for inspection and the family wonders if the accident had to be this bad.
"Some people believe in fate, and we believe, I believe that you can change your fate if you want to. It all depends on us. If that truck had that guard, then maybe, it could have been different. I think so," Nieves said.
Federal regulations on collision guards in trucks have not been updated since 1999. A bipartisan bill to strengthen them has been stalled in the State Senate since March.
The family says they hope if anything good can come from this, then maybe it can serve as a spark to get things moving again so next time it does not have to end in tragedy.

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