EL PASO, Texas - Sandra Chavez first learned of her teenage daughter's death while watching the news Tuesday night.
“I looked at it and I said to myself, ‘Wow. Poor girl.' Chavez said. "'I wonder how her parents must be feeling when they find out what happened to their daughter.’”
At around 6 p.m., a city bus struck a 19-year-old girl who police say was crossing the northbound lanes of Del Rey Boulevard in Las Cruces. The impact forced the teenager into the southbound lanes of traffic, where she was struck again. She died at a nearby hospital.
"I felt very persistent that something was not right," Chavez said.
Briana Chavez, a graduate of Burges High School, was studying to be a veterinary technician at New Mexico State University. After Sandra texted her daughter with no response, she said she instinctively felt concerned.
“She was the type of person that as soon I would text her, she would text me back right away.”
Later that night, the mother said she received the news that would haunt her forever: Her teenage daughter was involved in the deadly crash.
“I couldn't function; I couldn't think,“ Chavez said. "It was the worst news any mother could ever get."
The college student's parents said she was incredibly kind and giving, with a love for animals.
“I have never seen anybody love animals so much like she did," Chavez said. "Yes, I’ve seen people love animals, but not the way she did.”
The parents have four cats wandering around their home that they said their daughter brought into their lives. Her dream was to open a clinic that would provide animal care for low-income pet owners.
“Like she told me, Mom, if people can’t pay for their animals," Chavez said. "That’s okay. I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it because I want to save those animals.”
Her parents say they now rely on their faith to find peace.
“Love conquers everything," said her father, Rogelio Avalos. "The Lord is always in control of it. We can’t question what his plans are.”
However, the family says finding closure is extremely difficult.
“I call her phone just to hear her voice, because that’s all I have," Chavez said. "I see her pictures, I haven’t slept in two days. Every time I try to go to sleep, her image comes to my mind.”
The family needs help paying for Briana's services. To donate, click on this GoFundMe link.