Apr 25, 2012 10:50 PM by Ariel Wesler

Family of train crash victims prepares to bury loved ones

It's been one week since a Santa Maria father and his daughter were killed in a deadly car crash with an Amtrak train near Guadalupe.

Antonio Garcia Ortiz and his one-year-old daughter Azulmi were killed when their car backed onto the train tracks last Wednesday. None of the 132 passengers onboard the train was injured. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

The victim's Santa Maria family is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.

Plans are underway to transport the bodies of Antonio Garcia Ortiz, 26, and his baby daughter to Mexico, where they will be buried. It's been a rough week for the 18-year-old mother and wife left behind.

"She was emotionally devastated in some way, a little bit in a denial," said Jesus Arias, who works for the Law Offices of Gregory Moreno, who represents the family.

Arias says the three of them had hoped to one day return to Mexico.

"They were actually in the process of working hard and trying to save some money and build a house over there in Guerrero," he said.

Meanwhile, investigators are still piecing together what happened. They plan to review video from a camera mounted on the train that captured the deadly crash, a crash that also captured the hearts of its passengers, prompting them to gather $1,000 in donations.

"When they found out everything that happened, they became very concerned about the loss and the wife losing everything," Arias said.

The CHP reports the Amtrak train was headed southbound at 68 miles per hour when it broadsided the car, which had mysteriously backed onto the tracks, but the family strongly denies it was suicide.

"This was a young loving family. They had this beautiful girl," Arias said.

A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Supervisor also says there is no evidence of the crash was intentional.

As investigators seek answers to their questions, the victim's family hopes those answers will bring closure.

"She's not sure what's going to happen to her life in the future," Arias said.

A memorial service will be held in Santa Maria Saturday Night. It will take place at 6 p.m. at the Jesucristo de Las Americas church on 1104 West Fesler.

If you'd like to make a donation to the family, just click here.


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