Family remembers Avenal woman killed in Merced crash

Brianna Willis Image
Saturday, July 22, 2023
Family remembers Avenal woman killed in Merced crash
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Family members are remembering a woman who died in a crash on Highway 99 in Merced Thursday.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Family members are remembering a woman who died in a crash on Highway 99 in Merced Thursday.

Officials say a big rig's entire tire and axle came off and hopped over the lanes, hitting her truck, and killing the woman.

58-year-old Maria Guzman Aguilar was a mother, grandmother, and friend, she has four children and nine grandchildren that she leaves behind.

"I was hoping it was a lie, that it was the wrong vehicle, that it wasn't her," said Aguilar's daughter, Nentali Loaiza.

Loaiza is still in stunned disbelief over the sudden loss of her mother.

The selfless matriarch had her granddaughter with her, on her way to visit a friend.

"She was a loving caring mom, grandma, she was very nice," said Loaiza. "My mom had that will to help everybody, even if she didn't know them and they asked for help, she was always there to give a hand."

Isaiah Rodriguez, Aguilar's oldest grandson says his grandmother is the glue that kept her family together.

"She always had a smile on her face, and I never saw a moment when she was down," said Rodriguez. "I'm in shock, I just can't believe it."

And adds it was her grandchildren that kept her going each and every day.

"Her grandkids were her number one, her eyes, her everything, especially when it came to Jonah and Faith," said Rodriguez.

Faith was in the pickup truck with her grandmother when the crash happened, and her mother says Faith was unharmed and is doing well.

The California highway patrol says a big rig tire and axle flew off jumping lanes, causing the crash.

"Always check you guy's cars, truck drivers please, do inspections on your cars because no one should have to go through what we're going through," said Loaiza.

Loaiza urges everyone to take time to check their car because you never know when it can save a life.

"Even if it takes a couple of minutes, do a thorough inspection of your cars," said Loaiza. "You're not the only one on the road, you guys never want to receive this call telling you that your loved one has passed."

While Aguilar's sudden death is leaving a hole in their heart, Loaiza says it's the memories of her mother that will help her become whole again.

"I don't know how we're gonna do it but we have to keep going, because that's what she would've wanted," said Loaiza.

Since the investigation is still ongoing into the crash, her family says they have to wait at least a week to make funeral arrangements but it will likely have to be a closed casket service.

A GoFundMe has been set up to to help with funeral expenses.

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