Vigil honors 57 killed in Tucson crashes as families mourn

The silhouettes were originally posted at the crash sites of each victim (Source: Tucson News Now).
The silhouettes were originally posted at the crash sites of each victim (Source: Tucson News Now).

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - They called out one name at a time to make sure they were more than just a number among the 57 lives lost.

On Sunday night, Nov. 19, the Tucson community rallied to remember those killed in an alarming rate of crashes on the city's streets. Sunday also marked World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims.

According to the group Living Streets Alliance there have been 57 fatal crashes in Tucson in 2017 involving pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and people in cars.


In front of Tucson City Hall they called on Tucson's elected leaders to find solutions for preventing more of these "preventable deaths."

"The hard truth is there is no counter to reset for the families, friends, and loved ones of the real people who are behind these statistics," Evren Sonmez, the Living Streets Alliance Program Manager, told the crowd of more than 100 people who showed up.

But in an interview on Sunday, Nov. 12, with Tucson News Now, even Sonmez wondered if those families, friends, and loved ones would show up. She was hopeful, although many of the deaths being recognized at the vigil were still so fresh in the minds of those close to the victims.

It was only March when Selena Hernandez was killed while walking near Alvernon Way and Valencia Road a month before her 20th birthday.

Her father, Robert Hernandez, did not hesitate to drive down from Morenci, Arizona, for Sunday's event.

"None at all. We're always down here visiting her memorial site. We live three hours away. It's just horrible," he said.

Selena's sister, like many at the vigil, knows these deaths could be avoided.

"It's just - it shouldn't happen," Michelle Breashears said.

57 poster-board silhouettes were placed outside City Hall to mark each road traffic death in 2017.

Each silhouette represented pedestrians killed, like Selena, and drivers killed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a bicyclist run off the road.

Each silhouette represented a different circumstance, but each left the same heartbreaking aftermath.

"There's no closure," Robert Hernandez said. "It's just something we have to live with an accept. It's still hard to accept. I mean, we just have a big family and we just want to be here for her."

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