SPOKANE, Wash. – The mother of a man who was killed in a suspected DUI crash is sharing her grief in hopes it will prevent another family from going through the same. June to August are typically the deadliest days for drivers.
Jacqueline Collins wants everyone to do one simple thing before getting in a vehicle.
“Think of your mother,” she said.
Collins says she always told her son Brandon McDonald that she loved him. She says she never ended a conversation without making sure he knew how she felt.
“It’s like I could see it coming,” she said. “I always wanted him to know I loved him.”
In late June, she remembers waking up with a terrible feeling.
“(The crash) happened around 3:00 in the morning, and I woke up at 4:00,” she said. “I couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve been waking up then for days now. It’s like this eerie feeling. A mother’s instinct.
She said soon after, she got a call from officials letting her know her son had passed.
“We buried him on what would have been his 40th birthday,” she said.
Court documents outline what police believe happened to Brandon. They state he was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Selina Juarez, found wrecked near Napa and Trent.
Responding officers found the car ‘heavily damaged’ with the windshield and roof caved in, and airbags deployed. But records state Juarez was, ‘adamant she did not collide with anything,’ despite the ‘massive damage’ done to her vehicle. Officers state she told them she had a spare tire on her vehicle and ‘lost control’ when trying to brake.
Court documents state officers noted the ‘odor of intoxicants coming from her person while separated from the vehicle.’ She was later taken to the hospital, and officers state her blood vials for toxicology were taken and placed into police property for testing.
Juarez did appear in court for a vehicular homicide charge, but the case has seemingly gone nowhere since. As of Tuesday, it does not appear via court records that she is currently facing charges in connection to the fatal crash. Her bail has also been exonerated, according to court records.
Brandon’s family says they just want justice.
“I miss my son,” his mother said. “I cry all day.”
Jacqueline says her son was funny, determined, and loved by many, but adds, he too at times, struggled with drinking.
“We had talked about getting him into counseling,” she said. “He was trying to become a better man. One bad decision cost my son his life.”
And that’s why this family asked KHQ to share their story. They just don’t want this kind of hurt to happen to anyone else.
“Just think twice,” she said. “If I can help one person not put their mother through this, then I did my job.”
The family says they were told the investigation into what happened may take a year, in part due to testing. KHQ reached out to WSP about the lag in toxicology testing and results. A spokesperson did confirm there is a backlog in the process, calling it ‘a significant delay’ at the moment. They say the sheer volume of blood coming in without enough lab and technicians to process them in a timely manner is leading to the long wait.
They say they understand family’s need closure but want to ensure everything is done properly and not rushed.