COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Friends and family gathered at the Parker-Rhodes Funeral Home on Saturday to remember the four-year-old girl who died after a crash blamed on a suspected drunk driver.
Hundreds of Colleton community members, friends and family members of Aryah Thomas attended her funeral to pay their respects as she was laid to rest.
Balloons were released at the site of her grave honor her one last time.
Aryah Thomas’ mom, Christen Thomas, says she will never hear her daughter call her “mommy” ever again all because of the man who police suspect was driving under the influence.
“Our lives will never be the same. In a split second our lives changed and now every day I will wake up and remember this pain all over again,” Thomas said.
Her mother says she wants her daughter’s death to be a reminder that when you drink and drive, it’s not just your life you’re jeopardizing.
The family says they have one charge for the community.
They ask that anyone who has been drinking to stop and spell Aryah’s name, “a-r-y-a-h,” in hopes that they will choose to not get behind the wheel.
Troopers charged 43-year-old Vincente Pineda Garcia Thursday in connection with the crash with felony DUI resulting in death in addition to his previous charges of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and no driver’s license in connection with the crash.
The four-year-old’s mother says she believes the man was remorseful when he apologized to her in court, but “an apology can never bring back her little girl since the damage is already done.”