HOUSTON — A Houston mother is planning both a birthday party and a funeral for her little girl.
Zyra Longoria was killed in a car wreck this past weekend after the man she called dad allegedly got high on pills and fell asleep at the wheel.
Sabrina Garcia said her firstborn was her “blue-eyed baby” who was smart and funny.
“Joked around a lot, made everybody laugh,” Sabrina said. “Everybody in my family loved her so much.”
Zyra would have turned 7 on Wednesday.
This past Saturday, she was in the car of her mom's ex, 30-year-old Paul Rodriguez, and the couple's two sons. Witnesses say Rodriguez was driving erratically on the Southwest Freeway before crashing into several vehicles. Zyra was ejected and died the following day from a traumatic brain injury.
“My four-year-old is taking it really hard. He’s taking it really, really hard,” Sabrina said. “I have to be strong for him.”
The four-year-old and his two-year-old brother weren’t badly hurt but the older boy is traumatized by what he saw.
“My son just said that his daddy kept falling asleep,” Sabrina said. “His daddy hit a lot of cars and that he saw his sister go out the window.”
“He still doesn’t understand. Last night he was crying and crying for her. He wants her to come home.”
Rodriguez was charged with murder and intoxication assault.
Sabrina says she hasn’t been in a relationship with him in years but knew him to be a great dad.
“If I thought my kids weren’t safe, they wouldn’t be in his care. They wouldn’t be with him at all.”
According to court documents, Rodriguez admitted he smoked weed and took pain pills before the crash.
“By the defendant’s own admission, he smoked marijuana and had taken narcotic pills at the time prior to picking up three young children,” the prosecutor told the judge Tuesday at Rodriguez’s first court appearance.
Court records say he’d been buying narcotics on the streets for years to self-medicate a back injury.
“He apologized and he just said that he didn’t remember he blacked out,” Sabrina said.
“It seems just so unreal. I don’t understand. I really, really don’t understand.”
At last check, Rodriguez was still in jail on a $250,000 bond.
There is a benefit planned for this weekend and a gofundme.com account to help with funeral expenses.