Victims in fiery DeLand crash identified as woman, 3 girls

Jeep overturns, catches fire after wreck, troopers say

DeLAND, Fla. – A woman and three girls killed Tuesday in a fiery Volusia County crash have not been officially identified because of the conditions of their bodies, but family members told News 6 that two of the girls were 2 and 4 years old.

The fatal crash happened at Grand and New York avenues in DeLand.

"As per FHP policy, we will not be able to officially release the names of the victims until the medical examiner positively identifies them," the agency said in an email.

Bobby Lopes, the grandfather of two of the children, told News 6 that his ex-wife, Sandra Lopes, was the driver of the Jeep and his two granddaughters, 2-year-old Aryana, and 4-year-old Jaydn, were with her. Lopes said the other child was Aleah Bridges, the 5-year-old daughter of his ex-wife's boyfriend.

"They were so beautiful inside and out," said Bobby Lopes, who's flying to Central Florida from Massachusetts to be with the family. "They would have made this world so much better."

Jeff Thomas, the father of Arayna and Jayden, told News 6 that his daughters were loved.

"Everybody they touch, everybody they've seen, everybody they met, loved them," Thomas said. 

According to the FHP, the woman was driving a Jeep Wrangler with three children inside when a Ford SUV driven by a 64-year-old DeLand man traveled into her path.

The vehicles collided, and the Jeep overturned and caught fire, troopers said. All four occupants of the Jeep died at the scene, the FHP said. 

The driver of the SUV was not injured.

The SUV also struck a Dodge pickup, but the woman driving the truck was not injured, troopers said.

The crash is under investigation, and charges are pending, troopers said.

Residents called the intersection dangerous and said that a traffic light is needed, an idea that Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said has been discussed.

"I'm going to write a letter saying it needs to be looked at and today it really brings it to light," Johnson said. "The fact you had multiple fatalities in this accident, a real tragedy ... we've got to do something."

Family members are raising money for burial expenses on GoFundMe. A GoFundMe was also started for Aleah Bridges.

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