Justice for my son Christian J. Santiago

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I am a mother seeking justice for my children, impacted by tragedy, as a result of drunk driving.  Please read our story, and help us with our journey to justice.  For justice-regarding these types of tragedies, is so much harder to seek than one might think.  And most people, don't seem to care about these deaths, until they themselves, have been impacted by this violent crime.  Let us show the world that road deaths are one of the most violent and horrific deaths that one can ever have the misfortune to encounter. These deaths, if caused by an impaired, distracted, and/or reckless driver, are not accidents! Road deaths due to someone's negligence, lack of respect for life, poor choices, should matter! It should matter to the justice system, just as much as any other type of homicide, and should be regarded as such, especially---when a vehicle becomes a weapon. 

#justice4christian on instagram

*** If you have already signed petition on gopetition.com- do not sign this petition- they are the same.  I am seeking new signatures only.  This needs to reach a bigger audience, and I have found that most people are using Change.org.  If you have signed. I thank you. 

UPDATE- (February 2017)- It is now 6 months since the arrest. There still has been no suspension of Anthony Vazquez's driver's license. We await news to see if there will be an Administrative Suspension, which usually occurs once an arrest has been made.

UPDATE -(August/Sept 2016) - Anthony Vazquez Jr. is finally in police custody. Now the road to justice begins. Let us continue to share the petition in hopes that justice will now be served. Now, is when the petition is most vital, as we continue on our journey seeking Justice for Christian.

UPDATE - (July 28, 2016)- Anthony Vazquez Jr. is officially a WANTED FELON for Homicide and is dodging an arrest warrant. He has ties to Florida, NY, NJ,CT. and PR, His (enabling) family, are hiding him. Because of this, there has been no arrest. He has killed his cousin, my son, and refuses to do the right thing and turn himself in. We need your help and support in finding him, and making sure that he is tried for his crimes.

*** I am still being harassed on Social Media, as his family has made multiple attempts to try and stop me from speaking on behalf of my son, Christian. They have even made attempts here on this very petition.***

Let's show them that we will not be deterred, and Justice will prevail!

UPDATE: (June 23, 2016) - It is now a full year and 23 days later after the death of my beloved Christian, who was killed in a fatal, drunk driving crash [not accident], and still no arrest has been made. Anthony Vazquez, Jr. (the drunk driver) remains free at this moment. Free to drive, Free to continue to live as if he's done nothing wrong; as if he hasn't broken any laws; as if he hasn't killed anyone or caused severe, permanent, bodily injuries to others with his reckless behavior. Free to be a risk to the rest of society. My family continues to suffer while we grieve the loss of my son and await news of an arrest in regards to this crime. We have been asked to be patient during this very long, ongoing investigation. I think a year of patience, is long enough. We have placed our trust in law enforcement and in the justice system to treat this matter like the crime that it is, and to recognize that a road death should matter just as much as a murder by any other means of a weapon (be it a knife, gun, etc.) My family needs justice for Christian. Justice for Nya. Without justice, there is no healing; there is no moving forward for us.

UPDATE: (March 21, 2016)- My daughter, Nya Santiago underwent her 4th surgery, back in February and is recovering.

 

THE DRUNK DRIVING CRASH

On May 31st, 2015, at approximately 5:38 AM, my son, Christian, and my daughter Nya Santiago, were involved in a fatal car crash, while my family was vacationing in Orlando, Florida.  They were the backseat passengers of a vehicle, and the driver was impaired.  It was a single vehicle collision.  Weather conditions were clear. The vehicle was moving southbound on US441, and traffic was light at this time of the morning.  Due to the drunk driver being impaired nearly twice the legal limit, and speeding, the driver then crossed multiple lanes hitting a traffic sign, but continued crossing the median dividing the intersection, as he then crossed onto northbound traffic lanes, recklessly crossing 3 more lanes, and finally crashing into a tree.

 

My 18 year old daughter, Nya Santiago was critically injured, and underwent 3 surgeries to save her life.  Nya had surgery on her lower jaw, a broken arm and a shattered pelvic rami (leaving her hospitalized for weeks, and then in wheelchair for weeks thereafter the crash).  Though Nya is able to walk (at this time), she is still recovering from her injuries and faces surgery (in the near future) for the damage surrounding her pelvic rami, hips and spine.  My 22 year old son Christian Santiago, did not survive the crash. Though my son’s autopsy report shows that he suffered, multiple fractures, abrasions, and damage to organs, the final ruling regarding the cause of his death, is head trauma. 

 

The drunk driver, Anthony Vazquez, Jr. was found conscious and uninjured at the scene, and the passenger in the front seat (a male) incurred minor injuries, but was also conscious (at the scene ).  A third passenger (another male) in the back seat suffered from a broken leg, but survived and was found conscious at the scene. Five people were in that car the morning of the crash.  My son was the only one who did not make it out of the crash alive.  My daughter will never be physically the same.  The emotional scars this has left on my family are permanent.

 

WHY THE DELAY IN RELAYING THIS NEWS TO MY FAMILY?

I had come to find out the news regarding my son’s fate and my daughter’s critical state, at 10:30 AM on May 31st, 2015 (5 hours after the crash).  The mother of the male occupant, who incurred the broken leg, called me from New York, to report news of the crash, but did not tell me that my son had passed away.  In fact, she didn't say much to me at all about the crisis,  She just told me to call the hospital, regarding "the kids" being involved in what she called, an "accident,"  and gave me the number to the hospital.  I had later come to find, that she (who is my children's paternal aunt) had knowledge of the crash at least an hour and a half before she finally picked up the phone to call me.  Her phone call from the Bronx is a clear indication that this family was notified about the crash almost immediately after it occurred, by the surviving occupants (one of them being her own son, the one with the broken leg and the other a cousin to her, who is the drunk driver in this case).  Let me make note, that I was in Florida where the crash actually occurred, and she was back home in New York.  Of course the obvious question is:  Why wasn't I notified sooner?

 

WHY THE CONFUSION?

The hospital chaplain I spoke with over the phone who was the same person I met with at the hospital, was very adamant when conveying the news that my son was the driver of the vehicle.  This false bit of information was stated to me, both over the phone and in person.  News reports, and actual conversations with the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed, that my son was not the driver of the vehicle.  Still, someone had invented that story and relayed that information to the hospital staff, and I fear that it was to cause a delay in my family receiving immediate and relevant answers to what had actually transpired that morning of the crash.

 

SURVIVORS WITHHELD INFORMATION FROM AUTHORITIES THAT THEY ARE RELATED TO MY CHILDREN, AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION WHILE MY CHILDREN FOUGHT TO LIVE.

The night before the crash, the 3 surviving occupants, picked Christian and Nya up for a night out.  They had spent a substantial amount of time at our family's vacation home conversing with myself and my family (at least 20- 30 minutes ), before leaving the house,  None of the three surviving occupants, provided my location to the authorities after the crash.  In regards to Christian's identity, not even his name was given to the authorities.   My family was only minutes away from the hospital.  Again, all three surviving occupants (which includes the drunk driver), were conscious during and after the crash; two are biologically related to Christian and Nya.  All three of the surviving males knew the location of my family (in Florida), and were present at that location, but chose not to provide that information to the authorities.  In fact, my family has come to find out, that the drunk driver and the occupant with the broken leg, chose to disassociate themselves from my children completely, by not mentioning to the authorities how they knew Christian and Nya. They’re cousins!  Authorities were led to believe that the surviving occupants of the crash, really didn't know my children at all.  Perhaps, they thought my children were some random kids these males picked up at a club.

 Interesting enough, it turns out, that one day, during a random conversation I was having with a Sergeant. from F.H.P., about the case,  the subject came up regarding my children being related to the occupant with the broken leg.  The Sergeant. was surprised to hear this information, and stated to me that this was the first that they had ever heard this.  Again, this is 3 months after the crash!

 

Christian was officially identified through his NYS identification, at 9:20 AM at the Medical Examiner's office on May 31, 2015 (nearly 4 hours after the crash).  Using information on Christian’s I.D.,  the Florida Hwy Patrol contacted local authorities in the Bronx, back in NY, so that there would be an attempt to locate me and notify me about my children.    Of course I never actually received the news directly from the authorities in the Bronx, because I was not New York.   But I did come to find out later that NYPD knocked on my neighbors doors looking for me, back home.  A wasted effort, no thanks to the surviving male occupants, the drunk driver, and their families, who knew all along, the urgent and critical condition of my children.   Most of Christian's medical documentation shows that he was brought to the hospital for advanced emergency care, as unknown a "JOHN DOE," (he was assigned an alias name and birth date/ birth year).  The report also states, that the driver denied knowing any information about my son.

 

My daughter who was critically injured awoke in spurts, after the crash only to catch a glimpse of her brother dying, and then she passed out due to the extremities of her pain as a result to her severe, life threatening injuries. 

 

 The family of the drunk driver, and of the occupant (male with the broken leg), have all laid blame on my daughter  for not relaying  news to the authorities regarding her brother's identity and for not letting the authorities know where to locate me, at the time of the incident, only to lift the weight and the burden off of the ones who were able to speak – the 3 male surviving occupants .   They have stated to me, that this should have been her responsibility, and have thus overlooked the fact that she herself, was fighting to survive, and was in no condition to give information or speak, because she was not conscious.

 

TIME MAY HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE

Later, I would come to find, that my son, Christian fought for nearly an hour to live.   Yet, I was not notified about the crash up until 5 hours later.  My daughter, Nya nearly died, and none of the surviving  male occupants (who were conscious) thought it was important enough to inform me about my children and their condition. The lack of cooperation from all three surviving males, involved in the crash, caused for delays in getting this vital information to me and my family in a timely manner; it sent Florida Highway Patrol (F.H.P) on a wild goose chase to contact authorities in New York, where they then tried to reach me, all because they chose not to provide this information.

 My son was alive- and I was not there for him.  I did not know that he was hurt and that he was dying.  It  is devastating to have to live with  knowing this.  Knowing that no one cared enough to do the right thing when it counted.  Knowing that maybe I could have been there at the hospital, to be my son's voice, when he had none.  Knowing that maybe if I had been there, we may have been offered some options, and decisions could have made.  But they took that from my family when they fell silent in front of the authorities and withheld information to protect the drunk driver.

 

I fear that the intent [on the behalf of the 3 surviving occupants lack of cooperation was to cause massive confusion for the authorities, and for my family, and I suspect that they may have been also seeking to place blame elsewhere (let me remind you, that I was told by the hospital staff twice upon first receiving news of my son’s passing, that Christian was the driver of the vehicle and that turned out to be a lie).   

 

Knowing full well (at the time of the crash), that his cousin(s) may have [both] died, due to his reckless crime, Anthony Vazquez, Jr. did not cooperate with police authorities at all; not even to provide minimal information regarding Christian and Nya Santiago, instead he opted to plead the 5th, and chose not to identify himself with Christian or Nya, nor did he willingly submit to a blood test, therefore it took police nearly 5 hours to obtain a warrant from a judge so that one could be issued.  

 

Anthony Vazquez Jr., is still not in police custody.  Information has come to light, that there will be no license suspension, until an arrest is made, and  no arrest made, until BAC results are back in (in which we were told, takes 3-6 months).   Hence, Anthony Vazquez, Jr. is still free to resume operating motor vehicles and he is doing just that, placing the lives of more civilians at risk.

 

I am asking those who read this petition to take into account that there is a life lost, and that there is irreparable lifelong damage to my family. I am asking those who read this to consider the lack of information, communication, and support that was given to my family, during the most critical moments of Christian's life and death, by all three surviving males, involved in the car crash on May 31st, 2015.  I am urging those who read this petition, to please support me in seeking, Justice4Christian. 

 

By signing this petition, you will help the justice system to prosecute to the maximum sentence of all charges. In advance, I would like to thank all those who support my cause for justice. God Bless.

 

Christian Joshua Santiago

Feb. 12, 1993- May 31, 2015.

A beautiful, family oriented, intelligent young man with his whole life ahead of him.  He was a loving older brother, son, and grandson. He had just passed the NYC Sanitation Dept. test and he would have been very excited to work for the city.  He was continuing his education while tutoring students at Bronx Community College.  Christian had a huge fan following on social media (18k on just one page), and was loved by so many.  He had a positive outlook on life, a kind heart, and always put others before himself. Christian was a spirited young man who had so many dreams, and was ambitious enough to go after those dreams.  He was a free-lance model and runway model in his spare time, but he was sought after by many photographers and up and coming designers.  Christian J. Santiago was a beautiful man with a beautiful soul.  May God rest his soul, and may there be justice here on earth.

 

Link to article in Orlando Sentinel re: the fatal car crash:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-orange-fatal-crash-20150531-story.html



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