COOPER CITY (CBS4) – The family of a young mother killed in a car crash last week in Broward County is demanding answers.
They want to know if the driver that hit the car carrying Ashema Rattigan, 22, and her two-year-old daughter, Janaiyah, was speeding.
“We need to know what happened and whoever is responsible for this, we need to take action,” sister Cheryl Gregory told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “That’s it. They need to pay for this.”
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, a 2007 2-door BMW and a 2008 4-door Mercedes were westbound on Stirling Road in Cooper City around 7 pm Friday when the BMW slammed into a Scion which had just entered the roadway from a parking lot.
Ashema and her two year old daughter Janaiyah were in the backseat of the Scion when the BMW slammed into them. The cars spun around and ended up just west of the impact site.
Witnesses told investigators the BMW and Mercedes were speeding and detectives are trying to find out if that is true.
BSO said the driver of the BMW, 32-year old Abbas F. Khalife of Davie, refused transport to the hospital.
The driver of the Scion, 23-year old Stacy Ann Melisa Telemaque, and 22-year old Patrick Cave, who was in the front passenger seat, were taken to an area hospital where they were treated and released.
BSO also said there was no car seat in the Scion.
Ashema and Janaiyah were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, respectively. Ashema did not survive and and Janaiyah was in critical condition.
Gregory said the family learned about the accident when a BSO deputy arrived at their door after midnight on Saturday.
“I just can’t believe (Ashema’s) not here,” Gregory said through tears.
Theanora Smith said the little girl suffered damage to her liver, kidney and brain. However, doctors believe Janaiyah will be recover. Smith visited her granddaughter in the hospital Wednesday.
“I said, ‘JJ, grandma is here’ and she opened her eyes,” Smith said. “I said, ‘Squeeze my hand’ and she squeezed my hands and wink her eyes.”
The family is desperate to know what led to the accident. They are also committed to surrounding Janaiyah with love.
“I have to be there for her 100 percent — all the way,” Gregory said. “(Janaiyah) loves me and I love her.”
Ashema — a graduate of Miramar High School — loved fashion, cooking and home design, according to her family. They say she doted on her daughter, who loved to pose for pictures just like her mother.
The hardest part for Ashema’s two sisters and mother is knowing that Janaiyah will grow up never knowing her mom.
“It’s real sad,” her mother said, softly.
BSO says the investigation into what led to this crash could take months. An employee at a day care center, located near the accident scene, told CBS 4 News they handed over surveillance video to investigators. It is unknown whether the video captured any footage of the crash.