The images of a charred pickup truck crumpled in a deadly crash in Mexico still haunt the friends and relatives of a Chandler family that lost eight members on Saturday.
But an outpouring of community support is aiding the loved ones of the victims who died when their truck veered off a desert highway, crashed and burst into flames.
Dalia Garcia and her three daughters Jazmin, 15, Abigail, 14, and Natali, 10, died on the stretch of highway between Hermosillo and Guaymas in Sonora state. The crash also killed Rosario Lopez Alavardo, Astrid Bermudez Pechecho and her sons, Jesus Eduardo, 3, and Jovanny, 1.
All eight were piled in the truck for a trip to visit family.
Since the crash, a collection of community groups and the Chandler Unified School District said they have collected more than $4,000 for the Dalia Garcia Memorial Fund through Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.
The donations will pay for a memorial service and funeral for the victims.
“I never thought people would help like this,” said Auriela Garcia, a close friend and roommate of Dalia and her children.
The contributions also cover the costs of transporting remains back to Arizona. However, only Bermudez and her two sons will be buried in Arizona. The other five were laid to rest Monday in Mexico, Garcia said.
Relatives of Bermudez said they didn’t wish to speak about the crash.
The Chandler school district, along with the Chandler Education Foundation, offered $700 from the district’s Crisis Fund, set up to help students and families in unfortunate situations.
All three of Dalia’s children attended schools in the district — Jazmin and Abigail at Chandler High School and Natali at Frye Elementary.
The SunBird Golf Resort, an adult community in southeast Chandler, raised more than $3,500 from its residents, said Joan Sisley, SunBird’s community administrator. Dalia and Jazmin had worked in the resort’s restaurant.
The SunBird Lions Club also helped to raise money, Garcia said this week was difficult for everyone who knew the family. She added that despite the loss, no one is trying to dwell on what happened.
“I don’t want to cry because I want to remember how it was before they died,” Garcia said, “Dalia and her girls were so wonderful,” she said. “I will miss the times we had together. They were a joy to be around.”
The memorial service will be held at SunBird on Riggs Road between McQueen and Cooper roads. A date hasn’t been set.