Tucson family honors late son on his birthday by giving back to other children

A celebration for Baby Gabriel

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Clarissa Torres-Shelby was never able to celebrate a birthday for her son, Gabriel.

The infant was killed in a car wreck on the south side in April of 2018. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said the infant and his father, in the driver’s seat, were thrown from the car.

“Somebody was driving 95-miles per hour," said Torres-Shelby. "T-boned my husband and my baby. They both got thrown from the vehicle.”

[ UPDATE: Mission Road back open after fatal crash ]

Gabriel passed away at the hospital. His father was in a coma for two weeks.

According to officials, the car that hit them was driven by a minor.

August 25, 2019 would have been Gabriel’s second birthday. It may not be the typical place for a toddler’s ‘party,’ but the baby’s memorial site off Mission Road near Irvington Place was full Sunday morning for a toy drive.

“We just brought some toys that I think he would’ve liked for his age. A little bus there, a Spiderman," said a friend of the family, Gabriel Estrada.

The toys that filled a trunk will be donated to Aviva Children’s Services, an organization that supports children and families involved with a children welfare system. Torres-Shelby and her family held the event for the second time, always on Gabriel’s birthday.

“Put a smile on other kid’s faces," said Torres-Shelby. "We can’t see our baby smile anymore.”

Through the sadness, a smile is always shared in Gabriel’s memory off Mission Road with the family’s message to drivers.

“Slow down. Don’t drive so fast. It’s not worth it. Look behind us," said Gabriel’s dad. “Slow down, that’s all I can say.”

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