Family struggles after mother dies 23 days after father in Christmas Eve crash

Elizabeth Apadaca Valdez holds her grandchild backed by her four children. Valdez died in a car crash on Christmas Eve.

Elizabeth Apadaca Valdez holds her grandchild backed by her four children. Valdez died in a car crash on Christmas Eve. (Family photo via St. George News)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

ST. GEORGE — A crash that kills a woman on Christmas Eve may be tragic enough to some.

It is made even more by the fact the woman became a grandmother two months before. And her four older children lost their father 23 days before and are now struggling to figure out how to deal with both the emotional and financial costs.

Elizabeth Apadaca Valdez died after the passenger vehicle she was driving alone hit a tanker-trailer that had broken loose from a semi just after midnight on Dec. 24 inside the Virgin River Gorge. The three-vehicle collision took place on southbound Interstate 15 in the final turn before leaving the gorge, about 5 miles north of Littlefield.

Tricia Pierce, Valdez's sister-in-law, said the four adult children, ranging from 18 to 24, were together for the holidays and were awoken at 5:30 a.m., on Christmas Eve to be told that they had lost their mother three weeks after they lost their father.

"They've suffered more heartache in the last three weeks than what most do in a lifetime," Pierce said. "The holidays will definitely be scarred for them from here on out, that's for sure."

Their father, who Pierce said Valdez had divorced from, died Dec. 2 in California of unknown causes.

"They're not sure," she said. "He laid down for a nap and never woke up."

Read the full article at St. George News.

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Chris Reed

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