NYACK, N.Y. – A funeral will be held Thursday for a pregnant mother of six who police say was killed when a driver hit her family outside a convenience store after words were exchanged about his smoking.
Melissa Castillo DeLoatch, 32, of Stony Point shielded her youngest child, a girl in a stroller, last Wednesday afternoon in Haverstraw, police said. Her husband and the children, ages 11 months to 10 years, were treated at area hospitals.
Her husband, Sean DeLoatch, had argued with Jason Mendez after telling him not to smoke in front of the children as the family entered the store, police said.
Mendez then "intentionally drove his vehicle across the parking lot of the 7-Eleven store ... into a family of eight persons standing on the sidewalk out front," according to the felony complaint. "After striking this family with his vehicle, Mendez reversed backwards approximately 20 feet (six meters), put his car into drive, and drove forward over the members of the family a second time."
The defendant then tried to flee. When two police officers stopped him, he got out and menaced them with a razor blade, the complaint said. They repeatedly ordered him to drop it then used a stun gun on him.
An email requesting comment was sent to Mendez's attorney on Monday. A grand jury is scheduled to hear the evidence on Tuesday at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, said Stephen Moore, executive assistant district attorney.
A visitation will be held prior to DeLoatch's funeral at St. Ann's Church in Nyack.
"She would give you the shirt off her back; she would give you her last piece of bread," her mother, Joan Christopher, told the Journal News . "When it came to her children, she protected them and did everything for them."
"I'm just completely lost without her," said DeLoatch's brother, Ryan Christopher. "I don't understand it. She was the most caring person in the world."
Information from: The Journal News, http://www.lohud.com