Community donates to pregnant mom, 2 kids killed by alleged drunk driver

Posted by in TV Reports

Tiffany Bush can barely process it all.

Her older and only sister, Maria Thorpe, died in a car crash in Bedford Friday night.

“The past few days have been unbearable,” she said. “Still like a nightmare that you haven’t woke up from that you know is real.”

A truck slammed into Thorpe’s vehicle, killing the pregnant 30-year-old, her 8-year-old-Zariah Roberts and 5-year-old Zyannah Roberts.

Two other children survived the crash, but what surprised Bush the most is the support from strangers.

“It’s a blessing, cause you don’t know that many people care about,” Bush said. “Some people never even knew her, never even knew anything about her, so it means a lot that people care that much and we are very appreciative of everything, and we thank people from the bottom of our hearts.”

Shawnell Byrd was one of the first to help the family.

He collected donations at Club Premiere in Cleveland to help Bush lay her sister and nieces to rest. Thorpe did not have insurance.

“First of all, I got a big heart. I have a family of my own,” Byrd said. “Her being close to me and close to the family, you know, I just wanted to see what I could do to help her, to heal her heart.”

The healing process may be slow, but Bush said she hopes her family gets justice.

The driver involved in the crash is facing felony charges, and he made his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

Eric Calhoun of Warrensville Heights is facing four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide including that of Maria’s unborn child.

Police said he may have been drunk and may face additional charges.

“We have a lot of memories so that’s something that can’t be took from us, so we just hold on to them,” Bush said.

Holding close to memories and especially to one little girl. Bush’s 10-year-old niece, Zumyah, remains in critical condition from the crash. Bush said the girl didn’t have any bruises but had significant trauma to the head. She is currently on a ventilator.

“Our whole family is praying every day that she’d be, that she pulls through this OK. We’re fighting for that,” Bush said.

“He was making a bad choice,” she continued. “He took a lot from us, and it’s something we’ll never get back. All we have is memories and we hold on to them. That’s all we have now is memories.”

If people wish to contribute to the family’s funeral expenses, Bush said they can donate to the Thorpe-Roberts fund at the Cummings and Davis Funeral Home. It’s located at 13201 Euclid Ave. in East Cleveland. Donations will fund the three funerals.