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'We want answers' | Family of Fort Worth mom killed in I-35W crash speaks out

31-year-old Susana Longoria was among four people killed in the I-35W pileup involving two semi-trucks last week.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Maribel Velasquez’s home was filled with family Monday evening.

Family members have traveled from out of town to visit her family following the sudden death of her sister, 31-year-old Susana Longoria.

Longoria, a daughter, sister and mother to a 9-year-old daughter was among the four victims who were killed during a pileup last Monday night on Interstate-35W in Fort Worth.

“She would always tell me, ‘You’re so beautiful,’” Velasquez said as she recalled fond memories of her sister who went by ‘Susie.’ “She’s an uplifting person."

The loss of her sister, who was working toward becoming a nurse, still hasn’t set it.

Fort Worth police said the deadly accident occurred on the northbound lanes of I-35W between Berry Street and Felix Street.

Police said they received a call shortly after 9 p.m. about a minor collision involving two vehicles. According to police, after those two vehicles moved to the left shoulder of the highway to assist each other, a truck stopped to offer assistance, partially blocking the roadway.

An 18-wheeler then collided with the two pulled-over vehicles, and a second 18-wheeler then collided with the truck, police said.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office identified Longoria among three other victims: 25-year-old Chase Mapes, whose mother told us he pulled over to help. The other victims were 23-year-old Kiara Barker and her roommate, 21-year-old Jasmine Jones.

Velasquez told WFAA her sister was on her way home from Tarrant County College. The accident location was part of her daily commute to the family home where she lived. That night, her nine-year-old daughter waited for her to come home. Longoria, who worked for John Peter Smith Health Network always tucked her daughter into bed when she got home from college.

“Everybody was expecting her [that night]. Her daughter, my mom… she didn’t make it,” Velasquez said. “My niece said, ‘Nana, my mom didn’t make it. She’s not here, and it was already time for her to go to school.”

The family didn’t learn of Susie’s passing until the day after the crash.

“We want to know what happened,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez and her husband, Jose Fernandez told WFAA they have questions about the semi-trucks involved in the pileup.

Restrictions in large cities like Fort Worth prohibit semi-trucks from driving in the left lane. Police told WFAA there’s a loophole for passing and exiting, although it’s still unclear whether the semi-trucks were doing either of the two. 

Entrances near the area of the wreck are on the right side of the interstate. The loophole could mean the drivers won’t face charges, however, police said the crash is still under investigation.  

“How many people have to lose their lives, before you decide you’re gonna enforce something?” Fernandez said.

The family is trying to cope with their loss through togetherness and faith. They've started a gofundme to cover Longoria's funeral expenses.

“We ask god to give us strength, because we’re weak,” Velasquez said.

She said she has found a sense of comfort knowing Longoria began going to church during the last three months of her life. started going to church in the last 3 months.

“Susie would say, ‘Mom, I feel peace in my heart,” Velasquez said.

Longoria planned to get baptized this upcoming Sunday.

But instead, her family will gather for her funeral on Wednesday.

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