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Relatives Identify New York Mother of Six Killed When Driver Allegedly Plowed Into Her Family

People logo People 2/21/2019 Chris Harris
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Video by CBS News

Grieving family members have identified the woman who was killed when an angry man allegedly rammed his vehicle into her family in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in suburban New York.

Melissa Castillo DeLoatch, 32, was named on a GoFundMe page launched by her cousin that’s raising money to pay for her burial and the treatment her family will need in the wake of Wednesday afternoon’s fatal attack.

Police allege Jason Mendez, a 35-year-old from Washingtonville, New York, was behind the wheel of the vehicle that deliberately plowed into DeLoatch, her husband and their six children, one of which was an infant in a stroller.

According to authorities, after running down the family, Mendez allegedly reversed, backing his vehicle over the injured family, and then running over them a second time.

Police have not identified DeLoatch or any of the victims from Wednesday’s incident.

RELATED: Man Allegedly Ran Over Family, Including 6 Children, After Father Asked Driver to Stop Smoking

a person standing in front of a building: NBC New York © NBC New York NBC New York

“Melissa’s life was taken by an aggressive driver that ran her and her children over at a 7-11 in Garneville [sic], NY,” the GoFundMe page explains. “Melissa did what any mother would have done and tried to protect her children. She was a true hero. Melissa was full of love, smiles, life and so much more. All of us are going to miss you beyond words can explain.”

The page adds: “Any donation is truly appreciated. All funds will go towards her burial and the care of her children. 3 children are still hospitalized and the other 3 will need to see other doctors.”

DeLoatch’s husband, 35, and a 2-year-old child were rushed to Westchester Medical Center with critical injuries while the other children — who ranged in age from one to 10 years old — were also hospitalized, but their injuries were not deemed life-threatening.

Mendez has been charged with second-degree murder, along with seven counts of attempted murder. Information on his lawyer was unavailable Tuesday.

He has pleaded not guilty and remains in police custody.

Witnesses claim the violence followed an exchange between the suspect and the father who had asked that the driver not “blow smoke in my children’s face.”

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After arriving on the scene, officers found a disfigured stroller and the driver, who was holding a knife, police said at a news conference.

The driver allegedly refused to drop the weapon, prompting police to taser him and arrest him, officers said during the news conference.

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