They prayed in different languages and with different voices at a Wednesday night vigil in Lodi, but all with the same spirit – to uplift a family nearly wiped out by tragedy.
“He was like more than a person. He was like a superhero,” said 12-year-old Moses Vera as he talked about his best friend, Irving Miranda.
“I’ve known him since I was in kindergarten. He was like my other half,” Vera said.
Lodi Police say that Irving, his little brother Jose and his sister Stefanie died in their white pick up along with their father Luis and pregnant mother Vivian. They were all killed Tuesday when witnesses saw a speeding silver SUV careen through the intersection at Ham Lane and Vine Street.
“The guy that provoked the accident didn’t die. Why them and not the guy that made the accident? It’s just not fair for them,” said cousin Yuli Campo.
Relatives also say 9-year-old Eden Miranda – the sole family survivor – is now in critical condition at UC Davis Medical Center.
Witnesses say the driver who may be responsible for the Miranda family heartbreak was spotted talking on a cell phone just before impact.
It’s a scenario that brought folks out to Wednesday’s vigil, even though they didn’t know anyone involved.
“This could have happened to anybody and stop driving with your cell phones. I see it everyday … and it could have been avoided,” said Marilee Pennino of Lodi.
Family members are just trying to maintain hope for the little boy orphaned by all of this.
“My cousin he’s really in danger … at the hospital. I just hope that he survives,” said Campo.
A male driver was taken and four others were taken to area hospitals after Tuesday’s crash. Two more people involved were treated at the scene and released.
While crowds were still gathered at a street-side memorial for the Mirandas Wednesday, another car accident happened at the interaction of Ham and Vine. Luckily, it was a minor fender-bender that produced no injuries – but did end up with one driver being cited.
Several community fundraisers are being planned to help the Miranda family. The first will be Saturday, Oct. 26 at the 1230 West Kettleman Lane IHOP in Lodi, starting at 9 a.m.