The employee who died after a chain-reaction accident at a Northern Virginia car wash leaves behind three children, including a 1-year-old, her sister said.
The victim, 38-year-old Paula Margarita Rogel, was fatally injured Saturday while working the Soap and Suds Carwash in Manassas.
Prince William County Police said a 19-year-old male employee was attempting to move a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee from the back entrance after it had been washed, but as the SUV moved forward, it collided with a 2011 Dodge Ram, which then hit a 2011 Scion SD. The vehicle then struck Rogel.
Rogel, who went by Margarita, died at a hospital.
Her sister, Emily Rogel, said Margarita had worked at the car wash for more than a year. She was originally from El Salvador and was raising her two sons in the U.S. Her other child, a daughter, lives with other family members in El Salvador.
Emily Rogel says her sister lived for her children. But now Emily will be the one to raise her two nephews.
"She was always happy, optimistic, positive.... it didn't matter the circumstances," Emily said of her sister in Spanish.
Emily said she was at work Saturday when she received the call about the accident. She left her job at Subway and rushed to the hospital, but Margarita's injuries were too severe.
Emily told News4 she remembers her sister’s smile to free her from the pain, “if only for a brief moment.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.
Police are investigating the cause of the collision.