What was supposed to be a memorable celebration of their daughter’s first birthday for a young Georgia couple ending tragically in a violent car crash on their way to Walt Disney World and the Florida coast.
Thomas Garza, 25, and Lillian Luna, 20, of Moultrie, Ga. were killed along with their daughter, Brianna, early Sunday morning when their Nissan Maxima was rear-ended by a Mercedes SUV in central Florida, flipping both automobiles and setting them ablaze.
Garza and Luna died at the scene of the crash near Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, while Brianna was ejected from the car and later died at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando. She turned 1 on August 27.
"They were hoping to give her a huge birthday for the big No. 1, and they knew this weekend they'd have time to spend together," Luna's sister, Elataly Luna, told the Orlando Sentinel. "It's just so sad."
The couple was said to be inseparable ever since they started dating in 2012 and were known to work long hours in an effort to spoil their young daughter.
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"They both worked so hard because they wanted to provide Brianna a great future. They spoiled her and gave her everything she needed and way more," Elataly Luna said. "They were phenomenal parents and loved her so much."
The driver of the Mercedes SUV, 24-year old James Dameron, suffered minor injuries and was taken to South Lake Hospital in Clermont.
Dameron had his license suspended on September 1 and was charged several months ago with possession of methamphetamine and resisting an officer without violence. Public records also indicate that in the past few year he has also faced charges for unlawful speed, texting while driving, and littering on a public highway.
Charges are still pending in the crash, although it appears that alcohol was not a factor. Preliminary information shows Dameron was traveling faster than Garza and his family during the accident.
"Any witness is always important to a crash investigation," Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said. "In this case we have a driver that is alive that gives us his version of what happened and a driver that is dead that cannot tell us what happened."
Family members have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses.