FRENCH CAMP (CBS13) – Family and friends were grieving on Sunday after four of their loved ones including two children were killed Thursday in a deadly car crash in French Camp.
There were stuffed animals and other items paying tribute to the five people who died in that crash.READ MORE: Florida Breaks COVID-19 Case And Hospitalization Records
Brenda Williams, Larinda Jones’ cousin, told CBS13 that her cousin, her boyfriend Nathaniel Clifton, and two of their children died in the crash.
The San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office on Sunday confirmed the identifies of Lorinda Jones, 42, Phylis Clifton, 7, and Major Clifton, 1, all from Tracy.
Williams remembered Jones’ for her smile that she always had even when they grew up together.
“She just always had this beautiful smile when she greeted you and seen you. Nate, as well, he was the same way,” Williams said.
Williams got a phone call on Friday she’ll never forget that sent her straight to her uncle’s home.
“I had to ask God to give me strength to tell him because at the end of the day, it needed to be done. And, thank God, it was by a family member and not a knock on the door,” Williams said. “It’s something that I wouldn’t wish on nobody to have to tell somebody that their child is no longer here.”
It was a gut-wrenching moment for family and friends of the couple.
“I just started bawling because I knew it was her. And what hurt the most is her children. Major’s 1 and Phylis was 7, so they still had a whole life ahead of them,” Justina De Los Angeles, Jones’ good friend, said.
William told CBS13 she didn’t know the fifth victim in the crash.READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: Monday Is Deadline To Opt Out Of Advance Monthly Payments
The pain hits hard for Williams as she wonders what’s next for the couple’s other 10-year-old child, who was not in the crash, and has now lost a mother and father, and two siblings.
“I could only imagine as a kid what he is going through in his mind losing everything,” Williams said. “When you lose your mom, your dad and your siblings, what do you have?”
The California Highway Patrol said that it’s believed that drugs and/or alcohol were involved in this crash.
Williams said that their family hasn’t been told if that was a confirmed factor in causing this tragedy.
“It is an ongoing investigation. But, if that was a factor, it makes you think, w hat were you thinking, you know, getting behind the wheel?’” Williams said.
The CHP also added the three passengers in the back of the car weren’t wearing seat belts.
It’s a simple decision that Williams wants others to remember any time before they hit the road.
“It only takes a second. Even if you’re an adult, buckle up!” Williams said. “You know, it probably would’ve been a different outcome if they were buckled up.”
Williams told CBS13 that funeral services are still being finalized by the family. The couple’s 10-year-old son is staying with his grandfather.MORE NEWS: Delta Variant Presents Challenges To Metro Atlanta Schools
A GoFundMe has been set up for the son and possible funeral costs.