Fruit Stand Owner Killed By Car Mourned
Woman's Husband Critically Injured; Elderly Driver Also Hurt
Friends and family of a woman killed and husband critically injured when a car tore through their Northside produce stand Tuesday afternoon are splitting their time between cleaning up the family business and spending time at the hospital.
Julia Baltierra, 54, was trapped under the car and had to be rescued from underneath the car. She later died at the hospital. Her husband, 65-year-old Pablo "Smokey" Baltierra, remains in critical condition at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center.
"He made them take my sister to where he was. She was already dead, but he made them take her, and he got a hold of her and said, 'Wait for me. I?m following you. I?m going next to you,'" Baltierra's sister, Maria Juanita Sanchez, said of Smokey. "My sister was a wonderful person. I'm going to miss her a lot."
Police said a Lincoln Towncar ran a red light on Moncrief just before 4 p.m., left the road and struck Smokey's Produce at the intersection of Moncrief Road and Edgewood Avenue just before 4 p.m.
A witness said the car was making a strange noise before the accident. Witnesses said the car was driving erratically just before the crash, and police said they believe the driver may have had a medical emergency, which caused the crash. The driver of the car, 85-year-old Issac Mayhew, was in good condition Tuesday night at Shands.
The Baltierras' son, Guadalupe Baltierra, said he was on his way to pick up his parents and take them to their grandson's football game when the crash happened.
"It's just so hard," he said.
Guadalupe said that as he's splits time cleaning up the stand and staying by his father's hospital bed, he's just been remembering the last 11 years helping his dad sell produce at the stand.
"This is one we did every day, sell produce on one corner or another," he said.
A friend of the family is selling shaved ice on the corner where the stand was until Friday to raise money to help pay for Smokey's medical expenses.
As for Mayhew, his family said he had recently changed medications, which they said may have been the reason for him losing control of his car.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office traffic homicide detectives continue to investigate the crash and did not know if the driver would face charges.
A Bank of America account has been set up to help the Baltierra family. To donate, contact any branch and give the family's name.
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