It will take a miracle to get a mother’s visa approved quickly enough for her to travel from Mexico to be at her 18-year-old daughter’s funeral following a crash with a suspected drunken driver Sunday.
Ashley Acosta of Forest Park died overnight after being hospitalized since Jan. 30. Her unborn baby also was killed in the Clayton County crash, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. She was seven months pregnant.
“I didn’t get the miracle of being able to see her to say goodbye before she died,” Acosta’s mother, Elizabeth Robledo, said in Spanish from Guadalajara, Mexico. “I hope to at least go to her grave.”
The baby, who was to be named Mateo, would have been Acosta’s first child and Robledo’s second grandchild.
Jeffrey Cordell Fulks, 32, faces an additional charge of first-degree homicide by vehicle, Morrow police spokesman Deputy Chief David Snively said in a news release. His other charges include first-degree vehicular feticide, serious injury by vehicle, DUI and failure to obey a red light. He is being held at the Clayton County jail.
The crash took place Sunday just before 2 a.m., according to Snively. Preliminary information indicated that Fulks, who was driving a 2017 Ford F-150, ran a red light at the intersection of Jonesboro and Morrow roads, crashing into the passenger side of a 2015 Chevrolet Cruze in which Acosta was riding.
Channel 2 Action News reported Acosta was riding in the car with her fiance, 19-year-old Emanuel Cortes. The two had been dating for more than a year, Robledo said, and they wanted to get married because Cortes planned to join the Army.
The truck pushed the Cruze across the intersection, over the sidewalk and into a pole, Snively said. The truck continued through several bushes and came to a stop in the parking lot of a BP gas station.
According to a GoFundMe initially set up to help with funeral expenses for the baby, Acosta had been in a coma following the crash and had undergone four surgeries.
Robledo said she last spoke to her daughter the week before.
“That last call, I asked her, ‘Oh, show me your belly!’ Because I hadn’t seen it,” Robledo said. “She showed me and I said, ‘Oh, you’re really big!’ That was the last time I talked to my girl.”
As a little girl, Acosta was always sassy and loved to do her hair and play with makeup and high heels, her mother said.
“She was a noble person, sincere and with a strong character,” she said. “Always positive, my girl. Always loyal to the people she loved and always there to help others and encourage them even if her spirits were low. She was someone you could always count on.”
Acosta had been sad, Robledo said, because she missed her mother in Mexico. Acosta was born in the United States but lived in Mexico for a time before returning about six or seven years ago to find better job opportunities, Robledo said.
Acosta loved animals and would buy treats to give to any dog that crossed her path, her mother said. In June of last year, Acosta posted to Facebook about losing her dog after it was run over.
“I was thinking how my daughter is going to suffer if she woke up and learned she lost her baby, because — oh, she loved that little dog so much,” Robledo said. “Someone ran it over, and she made a little grave in her garden with flowers and a cross. It was her like her son — that was before she found out she was pregnant.”
In her Facebook post, Acosta pleads in Spanish with people to be more careful while driving.
“You can take away the life of many people and animals, seriously, it hurts so much to lose someone without knowing why,” she wrote of the loss of her dog. “It’s only been a month since his departure, and each day it’s more difficult to wake up without him by my side or at my feet ... I keep asking myself what I did wrong for God to take you away from me, I didn’t see your loss coming, and you don’t know how much it hurts me. Return to me, please.”
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Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution