12-Year-Old Driver Killed in Maryland Crash as Stepfather Rode in Passenger Seat

Josseline Molina-Rivas was the victim of the crash Sunday on Broken Land Parkway in Columbia, Howard County police said in an update

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A 12-year-old girl killed in a car crash in Columbia, Maryland, as she was behind the wheel early Sunday had been driving her stepfather, police and her family said. 

Josseline Molina-Rivas was the victim of the crash on Broken Land Parkway, Howard County police said in an update Monday. 

She was in the driver’s seat with a 36-year-old man as a passenger, police said. That man was her stepfather, Molina-Rivas' grieving family told our sister station Telemundo 44.

The victim's mother told T44 through sobs how she learned that her daughter had died in a crash and her husband was seriously hurt.

“The police came knocking on the door and said, ‘Who is Josseline?’ I responded, ‘My daughter,’” Grecia Rivas said in Spanish. "Josseline was driving my vehicle? I didn't know that my daughter was driving my car. I never gave her my car. I never taught her how to drive."

Molina-Rivas and her stepfather were headed south on Broken Land Parkway just south of Cradlerock Way in a 2017 Toyota Corolla, police said. The car left the road and hit a tree at about 2:10 a.m. 

"I was asleep. I didn't feel my girl, and when I woke up, I was scared. I couldn't find my car keys. I didn't know where Josseline was," Rivas said. "I don't know anything. I don't even know where they were going... When I went to sleep, I went to sleep with her at my side... That's why I woke up, because my daughter wasn't next to me."

Molina-Rivas was pronounced dead at the scene. Her stepfather was taken to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. He was still in serious condition as of Monday morning. 

Police said it’s still unclear why the child was driving or why she and her stepfather were in the car after 2 a.m. The investigation is ongoing.

"My daughter was such an intelligent girl, so beautiful, such a great daughter. My girl was so happy. She liked going to school," Rivas said. "I need help to be able to bury my daughter, because they told me that if I didn't get her out of there, they were going to cremate her, and I don't want them to cremate her."

Speed is believed to be a factor in the crash. Whether either person was under the influence of alcohol or drugs is part of the investigation, police said. 

Damage to a tree could be seen on the parkway Monday evening, along with a bouquet placed in the young girl’s memory. 

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