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‘Now they’re resting’: 7 family members eulogized after North Las Vegas crash

Updated February 21, 2022 - 6:57 am

Balloons swayed in the cool breeze to the sound of sorrowful mariachi music as seven members of a North Las Vegas household were eulogized Saturday morning.

Then, the balloons, and doves, were released, disappearing into the clear, sunny sky outside Palm Mortuary-Jones in northwest Las Vegas.

Despite the tragic circumstances — in which Erlinda Zacarias and Jesus Mejia-Santana bid farewell to their children, stepchildren and a brother — the funeral services were “beautiful,” the grieving mother said afterward outside her North Las Vegas home, which suddenly went from nine occupants to two following a Jan. 29 crash, the deadliest in Nevada history.

“The world’s support was there with us,” Zacarias said in Spanish. “And now they’re resting.”

Zacarias’ four biological children and her adult brother were buried Saturday. They were: Fernando Yeshua Mejia, 5; Adrian Zacarias, 10; Lluvia Daylenn Zacarias, 13; Bryan Axel Zacarias, 15; and Jose Zacarias-Caldera, 35. Their five photos were attached to a white cross seen from a distance.

Brothers Gabriel Mejia-Barrera, 23, and David Mejia-Barrera, 25, will be repatriated and buried in Mexico, Zacarias said of her two stepsons. The couple will attend that funeral in about two weeks.

On Saturday, dozens of mourners joined the couple in their grief. The funeral home did not allow media access.

But in a live video shared by Zacarias on social media, the family’s pastor spoke about resurrection.

Later in the video, sniffles and music could be heard as five caskets were lowered into the ground. Messages of condolences poured in.

“I feel very supported; there were a lot of people,” Zacarias said later.

January crash

The seven victims were heading to meet up with Zacarias and Mejia-Santana for lunch when they were struck in the intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and Commerce Street.

North Las Vegas police said Gary Dean Robinson, 59, blew through a red light at more than 100 mph, slamming into the family’s minivan, causing a six-vehicle wreck.

Robinson and his passenger, Tanaga Ravel Miller, 46, also died.

Miller will be buried Monday, and attempts to reach Robinson’s family have been unsuccessful.

A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation found that Robinson had a clean record with Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles despite being cited for speeding at least five times in the 15 months preceding the fatal crash.

Zacarias said lawmakers should act so that a tragedy like hers does not occur again.

“Today, it was them; tomorrow, who else?” she said.

The National Transportation Safety Board also launched its own investigation. A preliminary report has not been released.

Support for family

In the weeks since the crash, the outpouring of support has come from all corners of the United States, Zacarias told the Review-Journal in a short conversation from her home Thursday.

In addition to the $300,000 raised online for burials, friends and strangers have shown up to the family’s home bearing food, flowers, letters and other mementos.

The couple previously described the lost family members as inseparable.

Fernando was the “baby” of the house, while Adrian was an artist who enjoyed pampering his mother. They were both in karate classes.

Lluvia was the “boss” who kept the house in order, while Bryan was an aspiring paramedic.

David Mejia-Barrera was a hard worker, and his brother Gabriel was a kid at heart. Their uncle, Jose Zacarias-Caldera, settled sibling quarrels and watched over them.

Zacarias has taken to Facebook to share videos of happier times.

“I never thought we would have so much support,” she said after Saturday’s funeral. “That makes us feel good.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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