Two women wheeled Karla Vasquez into Berardinelli Family Funeral Services on Tuesday afternoon. Those same women then lifted the convalescent mother so she could reach over to her daughter's small, open white coffin, lined in pastel pink.
Vasquez cried softly over the body of 4-year-old Yuliana Reyes Vasquez, adorned in a white dress.
"I don't have much words, I can't speak much," Yuliana's father, Adolfo Carlos Reyes Tapia, told funeral attendants in Spanish. "Thank you for your support."
Yuliana's burial on Tuesday came after the Dec. 30 traffic collision at the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Siringo Road.
Deborah Aaron, 56, a Santa Fe surgeon, was arraigned in state District Court last week on one count of vehicular homicide. Her Land Rover hit Vasquez's minivan. Santa Fe police believe Aaron might have been speeding because she was late to pick up a friend at the Albuquerque airport.
Police filed several search warrants Monday to retrieve information from both vehicles as well as from cellphones.
A search warrant for Aaron's vehicle states that a person who witnessed the crash indicated that traffic lights heading both north and southbound on St. Francis Drive were green during the time of the collision.
"The witness also recall[s] a green in color Mercury mini van that came off Siringo Road east bound and ran the red light," a detective writes in the warrant.
The warrant indicates that Vasquez did not recall what color the traffic light had been at the time of the impact. She did say that she was en route to pick up her husband from work when the collision occurred at 10:48 p.m.
Aaron said that she had a green light, that she was paying attention to the roadway and that she did not pick up several phone calls she knew she was receiving while she was driving, the warrant states.
Police have retrieved several vehicle parts, including the Land Rover's data-control module.
In a statement of probable cause, Aaron admitted to having a couple glasses of wine earlier that evening. At the time of the accident though, the police report said, there was a "smell of alcohol emitting from her breath."
Regardless of who is at fault, said Aaron's attorney, Dan Cron, the situation is just as difficult for Aaron as it is for Yuliana's family.
"Putting aside the issue of alcohol and liability, she was involved in a fatal accident, and she feels terrible about that. She feels very bad for the family," Cron said.
During Tuesday's service, little girls dressed in pink carried Yuliana's picture in their hand and called her "Yuyis."
Amayra Hamilton, a family friend, told the attendants how special Yuliana was.
She loved music and wanted to be a dancer. She loved makeup, and her favorite expression was mucho amor
, or much love.
Hamilton traced Yuliana's day on Dec. 30. Yuliana knew her mother was expecting a baby, and she was adamant that it's going to be a boy, Hamilton said.
That day in the morning, Vasquez was not feeling well due to her eight-week pregnancy, so she lay on the couch and Yuliana covered her with a blanket. She wanted to protect her mommy and make her feel well, Hamilton said.
"Then she said that her little brother wanted to get out. Her most remarkable comment was that she was going to give her life for her little brother," Hamilton said during the memorial. "Her mommy did not understand what she was talking about. In hindsight, Yuliana may have been sensing into what was coming, transcending earthly time."
Yuliana's last day on Earth was a happy one, Hamilton said. She wanted to make tamales for her dad for New Year's — that's because the Christmas tamales had not met her standards and she wanted better-tasting ones to celebrate 2012.
"Her last day on Earth was a day of love ... this time she added that her mommy should never cry about her. Her mommy kissed her and promised she wouldn't, not knowing what was coming up," Hamilton said.
Contact Sandra Baltazar Martínez at 986-3062 or email@example.com.
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