EMOTIONAL: Woman visits intersection year after suspected DUI driver killed her sister, niece

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It’s the first time Catherine Joiner has been back to the Eastern Ave. and Flamingo Rd. intersection. Last year, 49-year-old Carrie Smith and her daughter 19-year-old Jazzy Smith were killed in a crash on Dec. 13, 2017.

Joiner remembers her sister Carrie as a wonderful mother.

“There isn’t a day that I don’t think about my sister or my niece,” said Joiner. 

On Thursday night, the family lit a candle in their memory. They also wore t-shirts that read “Gone but not forgotten”.

“I think that the tears that I cry are not tears of sadness, although my heart is filled with sorrow, but tears of joy because my mom was loved,” said Latoya Pasillas, Carrie Smith’s daughter.

Pasillas said Jazzy was a “shining star”.

At tonight’s vigil, the Smith family thanked Heather Mietz Egli for helping her family cope with their loved ones death.

“Three months later after the incident, I received an e-mail and she basically told me that my mother and sister did not die alone, that someone who cared was there,” said Pasillas. 

Heather didn’t know how impactful her words would be. 

“No one… Not even my husband knew that I was really contemplating suicide,” said Pasillas. “Just that e-mail is why I’m sitting here today.”

Now, the family is working to find peace through forgiveness. 

“All I did was try to do what I would hope would be done for me,” said Mietz Egli.

32-year-old Daniel Becker was arrested for causing the crash. 69-year-old Charlene Emerson was also killed. 

“There’s no winners here even with the sentence coming up. Everyone loses by a choice that simply can be avoided, you know, by better choices,” said Pasillas. 

Becker pleaded guilty to driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving last month. He will be sentenced on Jan. 7th.

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