Fatal parkway crash victim’s family raising funds for funeral expenses
Two days after a crash that killed two people and injured 12 on the Garden State Parkway, the family of one of the victims is trying to raise enough funds to send her body back to El Salvador for burial.
Fifty-six-year-old Esperanza Guardado-Quintani of Elizabeth was killed Friday along with 30-year-old Charles Derosier of Irvington when the van in which they were traveling flipped over on the parkway at about 6:45 p.m. in the northbound express lanes in Holmdel.
New Jersey State Police Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Williams said Saturday morning that the 2001 Ford passenger van driven by Manuel Perez, 55, of Elizabeth, was carrying 14 people. According to a preliminary investigation, police believe Perez lost control of the van, then crossed the highway from the left lane, striking the guard rail and concrete overpass support. Williams said the van continued to spin out of control and crossed the road again, this time striking Guardado-Quintani, who had been ejected from the vehicle. She and Derosier were both pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Police say a dozen passengers were injured and four of the victims were transported to the hospital via medical helicopter.
On Saturday, Guardado-Quintani's niece, Blanca Amor, of Roselle, started a GoFundMe page. On the site, she describes her aunt as "very shy, honest, caring and such an innocent person."
Amor said on the page that her aunt "dedicated her life" to caring for her grandmother and great-grandmother in El Salvador. Amor said when her great-grandmother passed away at age 105, Guardado-Quintani moved to the United States to live with her sisters.
"We never got to say goodbye the right way," Amor said of her aunt's death.
She said the page was set up in order to help the family raise enough money to send her body home to El Salvador "where she can be laid to rest with my grandmothers."
So far, the page has raised $210 of the family's $7,000 goal.
The crash that killed Guardado-Quintani remains under investigation, police said.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.