DENVER -- A 4-year-old Denver girl was killed in a suspected drunk driving crash on Saturday. Police say the woman accused of causing the crash is a habitual traffic offender.
Alayah "Lay Lay" Harbin was in the back seat of a vehicle being driven by 28-year-old Shaquea Smith. The family says the girls mother was also in the car. Police say their vehicle was hit by another car at the intersection of Bruce Randolph Avenue and Columbine Street in the Clayton neighborhood.
Alayah did not survive.
The Denver Police Department says multiple witnesses saw Smith speeding and disobeying both stops signs and red lights before the crash.
“I wasn’t expecting them to tell me that Lay Lay was gone,” said Geneva Petty, Alayah's grandmother. “I can’t even describe what I felt at that moment."
Alayah just graduated from preschool. She was just two weeks shy of turning 5 years old. The animated toddler loved to make her family laugh.
“If she got your phone, trust me, you’re going to find about 50 pictures of her face. She was goofy and she loved to make funny faces,” Petty said.
“It’s an act of negligence,” said Patricia Johnson-Gibson, Alayah's great-aunt.
Police say Smith was drunk and had an open container inside the car during the crash. According to court documents, Smith has a prior alcohol conviction.
“Just angry. Just angry with the whole situation,” Petty said.
As Petty and the family make arrangements for their beloved Lay Lay's funeral, they want others to learn from their tragedy.
“Take an Uber or Lyft and don't get behind the wheel because the impact of it all will tumble down and affect so many families,” Johnson-Gibson said.
“Just take a moment to think about Lay Lay to make the right decision so this doesn’t happen to another child or anybody, for that matter,” Petty said.
According to police the four children in the vehicle, including Alayah, were unrestrained.
At 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, family and friends will gather at the intersection of Bruce Randolph and Columbine for a candlelight vigil and balloon release in Alayah’s honor.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the funeral expenses. If you have additional questions or need to reach the family, contact Pat Johnson-Gibson at 720-429-0613.
Smith has been charged with vehicular homicide.