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Valley family mourning loss of man who was involved in crash with alleged drunk driver

Posted at 10:49 PM, Feb 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 19:40:05-05

A Valley family is mourning the loss of a beloved father and uncle three days after a deadly crash in West Phoenix. 

On Tuesday, 42-year-old Santiago Maya was driving a taxi near 57th Avenue and Thomas Road when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

According to police, a car driving eastbound on Thomas Road attempted to turn left onto 57th Avenue in front of the taxi. The cars collided and the taxi rolled over. 

Maya's niece, Yesenia Ronces, says her uncle suffered severe head injuries in the crash. She described the last few days as very tough for the whole family.

"I had to hold onto my mother when I saw him," Ronces said. "I almost fainted to see him all tubed up and spread out like that."

She described Maya as a hard-working man who had just become a proud grandfather. Ronces said he worked long and late shifts, sometimes well into the morning, to help support his family.

She said Maya was a very friendly man, "a good soul" who was always laughing.

"We were very close. He was like my second father," said Ronces.

She added that yesterday, doctors had informed the family that Maya was basically brain dead, and the only thing keeping him alive was the life support machine.They asked the family if they were ready to pull Maya off life support or if they wanted more time. 

Maya's wife requested 24 hours to be with her husband.

Phoenix police have not released the suspect's name at this time, but have said impairment is suspected.  Ronces said he had taken away a huge part of their lives.

"He's taken away a very good man.  Even though my uncle is in a better place he'll have to live with this now.  It wasn't just my uncle.  There is a passenger what is also in critical condition."

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses for Santiago Maya.