PHOENIX, AZ — The family of a woman and her son killed in a crash along State Route 51 in December is now sharing a message they want all drivers to hear, while also pushing for tougher penalties for these types of crashes.
Jennifer Vegtel and her son Logan, 5, were killed in a crash near SR-51 and Highland Avenue. According to Department of Public Safety officials, a pickup truck hit the back of a Kia sedan, which then hit a car in front of them. Vegtel and her son were in the Kia and died following the crash.
"There's no words to describe a normal day anymore," said Jodi Edger, Vegtel's mother. "A normal day isn't a normal day. I haven't had a normal day since December 10th."
According to a newly released DPS crash report, the 34-year-old driver of the truck told investigators he was going "50 to 60 miles per hour" prior to the crash. The driver told authorities traffic began to stop and he started to brake. In a witness statement, the passenger in the truck reported the driver could not stop in time before hitting the car.
The driver of the truck, identified by DPS as Edgar Ramos-Esteban, was cited for Failure to Control Vehicle to Avoid a Collision.
"It's horrible," Edger said. "Do I want him to be thrown in jail the rest of his life? Absolutely not. Do I want him to be held accountable? Absolutely."
In general terms, DPS says they look at a driver's actions prior to a crash. The report for this specific case shows investigators ruled out impairment and did find marks "consistent with fully braking tires."
While Vegtel's mother would like to see tougher penalties in crashes that result in someone dying, she at least wants other drivers to pay better attention.
"I understand there's accidents," Edger said."We all get it, there's accidents. But slow down, try to prevent as much as we can and if I can save one other family from going though what my entire family is going through, I'm all over it."
The Arizona Revised Statute that covers the citation issued to the driver of the pickup truck reads as follows:
A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.
ABC15 has been unable to reach Ramos-Esteban for comment.