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."
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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.
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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.