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Family that lost four in crash seeks donations for funeral costs

A San Fernando Valley family that lost four relatives in an accident with a semi-truck -- and buried two of the dead Wednesday -- asked for donations to cover funeral expenses and to support a child left behind.

The family raised $4,000 through car wash fundraisers and $3,000 from online donations, but they’re asking for more to cover funeral expenses and to help the teenage son left behind by two of the deceased.

“They didn’t leave anything,” Eliza Cortez, a relative said. “Not even enough to bury them.”

On the evening of Sept. 2, Juan Jesus Alaca, 56, of North Hills; Anna Ceballos, 42, of Van Nuys; Rosa Morales, 58, of North Hills; and Maria Ramirez, 65, of West Hills, were killed when a big-rig tanker smashed into their white Cadillac.

The California Highway Patrol said Alaca failed to stop at a stop sign near Edwards Air Force Base near Avenue A and 90th Street West, and even though all wore seatbelts, all died from their injuries when the truck broadsided them.

“The only breadmaker was Juan,” Cortez said. “My aunt [Morales], she did a lot of her own work at home and stuff; she was very creative. She was the trunk of our family tree. She held everyone together -- friends family she would figure it out.”

About 15 family members from Mexico traveled to L.A. for Wednesday's funeral for Ceballos and Morales; 10 more came from San Diego. William Holdings, a property management company whose owner Cortez said she met at a cancer benefit, donated money so the out-of-town family members could stay in a hotel.

Cortez said she’s worried what will become of the teenage son left behind; she’s worried about where he’ll stay if the family loses the North Hills home he lives in.

Alaca’s family would like his ashes sent back to Peru, where he was born, and Cortez said she doesn’t know how they’ll manage to get him there without financial help.

“There are so many things,” Cortez said.

The family has set up a website for anyone who would like to donate.

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-- Weston Phippen

 
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