Riverdale community rallies in support of family impacted by fatal crash

A community is rallying around a Riverdale husband and father who lost his wife and children in a fiery crash Saturday night.
February 17, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
A community is rallying around a Riverdale husband and father who lost his wife and children in a fiery crash Saturday night. Monday would have been one of the four kids' second birthday.

Flowers, balloons and even pieces of the car Esmeralda Saucedo and her four kids were in makes up a memorial at the corner of Excelsior and Marks. It's just two miles away from the family's Riverdale home.

Friends say Esmeralda and her husband Joe left in two cars Saturday. They were headed to pick up more family members and then go to Chuck E. Cheese in Fresno to celebrate Isaac's second birthday.

They never even made it out of town before CHP officers say the driver of a Nissan ran a stop sign and hit Esmeralda, causing her car to burst into flames. Monday, even those who didn't know the family but heard what happened, figured out how they could help.

"I called our president from the lion's club today to try to set up something for us to donate. And then the district lion's club, we're sending emails to them to see if they will come through also," Riverdale resident Parke Halvorsen said.

Family members say the couple shared Valentine's Day together, Esmeralda's last Facebook post shows she checked in at P.F. Changs in North Fresno Friday night posting, "valentine dinner thanks babe, love you."

Since the crash, loved ones, say the father has hardly been able to eat or sleep.

At the crash scene, many people continued to stop Monday, including Juan Garza. One of his family members died at this intersection in 2005 when another driver ran a stop sign.

"With this family just dying this last Saturday, it touched us all. When my sister in law passed away here in the same intersection, something should have been done then," Garza said

A separate memorial for his relative, 55-year-old Evelyn Banuelos is steps away from the most recent one.

Since it's a holiday, class wasn't in session, but counselors will be ready Tuesday morning at Riverdale Elementary where 11-year-old Breanna was a 6th grader and also at Fipps Primary School where 6-year-old Jada attended school.

The love from the community is clear through the donations, the Riverdale youth football and cheer program donated $500 and many families throughout the Valley are giving hundred dollar donations.

In five days there will be a huge fundraiser at a nearby school.

For more information on the event or to donate to the Saucedo family click here.

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