Family remembers 17-year-old girl killed in car crash caused by accused drugged driver

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Baez family was close and included mother Janina, father Mario and two daughters, Britney and Nicole. But even beyond that, the girl cousins were the best of friends.

Britney, 17, was the one everyone looked up to.

"She was like a best friend to me. She would give me advice, help me on homework. I would go to her when I had a problem or when I was sad and she would always help me feel better," Britney's cousin Natalia Gomez, 14, said.

Britney's aunt, Nancy Gomez, said, "She would be the peacemaker. Seeing that important element she brought to the dynamics of the cousins and the family has really hit me in a very soft spot. I really liked how my daughters were when they were around her. Positive influence, academically inclined, overall an exceptional young lady."

Just two days into summer break, the family was going to the movies when an accused intoxicated driver slammed into the family car, traveling up to 70 miles per hour at Westpark Drive and Dunvale. Britney was killed and her father, Mario, remains in critical condition.

Edy Lopez-Hernandez is accused of running from the scene with his 2-year-old son in his arms.

Britney's cousin, Adolfo Gomez, said, "Thank God the little boy from what I hear is okay. But he's going to spend a lot of time without his father, that's heartbreaking also."

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17-year-old girl killed in car crash in southwest Houston.

Lopez-Hernandez is now charged with felony murder. Court records show Lopez-Hernandez had been deported twice before.

"We are immigrants also, so we know not everybody is a criminal coming from over there. But the reality is, we need to have a better system and to vet people coming to the country. People who want to work and don't have a criminal record in their country will be good. But guys that are jumping the fence, crossing borders is not right," said Gomez.

The family joins many others who have lost loved ones by impaired drivers.

On Sunday they spoke, surrounded by Krysta's Karing Angels.

An unexpected funeral and the family breadwinner being in the hospital has added to the stress.

A GoFundMe, the Britney Baez Memorial Fund, has been launched.

"We're very grateful to everybody who has passed the link around, passed the word around and is aiding this beautiful family who is in much need of prayer," said Nancy Gomez.

Britney would have been a senior this fall at Alief Taylor, where she worked on the newspaper staff and dreamed of going to college and becoming a writer.

She was her 13-year-old younger sister's hero.

"It's hard to go back home now. I tried yesterday and I couldn't," said Nicole Baez.

Britney's mother says she wants one thing for her daughter.

"Justice for my daughter," said Janina Baez.
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