LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The mother and friend of a 21-year-old car crash victim from over the weekend are thankful for the outpouring support they are getting from family and friends.
Stephin Mclaughlin of Las Cruces was identified by his mother, Chastity Soto, and best friend Ryan Galaz. They said he was the one ejected from a 2005 Cadillac on Interstate 10 near Redd Road around 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 17.
One plate at a time, family and friends of Mclaughlin are raising money for his funeral.
"I wanna hold him, ya know? But I can't. I just wish it would have all turned out differently," Soto said about her only son.
Mclaughlin was the backseat middle passenger of the Cadillac, according to Galaz, who was in the front passenger seat. The group was headed back to Las Cruces after a night out in downtown El Paso, when a 2004 Mini Cooper and the car they were in collided on the interstate, causing both cars to roll over.
"It hurts. I started crying yesterday, went to sleep crying. It's just sad. I just wish no one would drink and drive anymore. It sucks," Galaz said.
Galaz said was asleep during the crash, but was told his best friend was ejected from the car, before the Mini Cooper landed on top of him, killing him.
"I was supposed to go before him, and for him to die such a horrific, horrific death is devastating to my family, to me," Soto said.
Since the news, so many people who knew Mclaughlin have stepped forward. They are organizing car washes, benefit shows and food plates to-go towards helping the family he left behind. While every dollar helps, the grieving mother said the sentiment is what's really helping.
Information about benefits/car wash:
Car wash at Creative Hair Studio
Aug. 19-20, 5-8 p.m. both days
225 E. Idaho, Suite 12
11 a.m.-6 p.m. through Friday, Aug. 22.
$6 a plate, food changes daily
Aug. 28 - time unknown
2171 Calle del Parium, Mesilla
All of the money raised will help the family towards funeral expenses.
El Paso Police Department is still conducting the investigation, and would like to talk to two of the seven people involved in the wreck. It's believed two people ran from the scene. Anyone with information is asked to contact them at: 915-834-4400 or Crime Stoppers at 915-566-8477.