JoAnnie Duran was stopped at a red light when her sister’s fiance called. She struggled to make out most of his words, but finally two of them stuck: “Sandra’s dead.”
Duran pulled into a gas station parking lot and sobbed, but couldn’t bring herself to say the words out loud. She had Sandra’s 12-year-old son in the car with her. How could she possibly break it to him? And how could it be true? Her sister had called her just 20 minutes earlier to tease her about a video she’d posted on Facebook.
Even now, more than two weeks since her older sister’s death, she cannot accept the way it happened. Officials say a drunk driver ran a red light, smashing into Sandra’s car that Sunday morning — an hour or so after the sisters worshipped together at church.
The driver — who faces murder, vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated charges in connection with the Feb. 19 crash — is an immigrant in the country illegally who has been deported from the United States at least five times, according to police and court records.
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