GENEVA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The father of two young girls killed in a crash near South Haven is in stable condition at a Kalamazoo hospital, but family said they have had to tell him more than once that his 2- and 4-year-old daughters are dead.
The head-on wreck between a Ford F-150 and Pontiac Grand Prix happened just after 7 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Phoenix Road/County Road 388 and 62nd Street in Geneva Township.
The driver of the Grand Prix, Brittney King, died. She was 24.
Cassadi Berryhill, 4, and Kandice Berryhill, 2, also died from their injuries. Investigators say the children were not in car seats.
Friends and family came to the crash scene throughout Wednesday afternoon. They placed teddy bears on the side of the road where the crash happened. Some broke down in tears.
On Wednesday, the loss was still fresh for the girls' grandmother.
"They were just sweet. They were innocent. They had so much to give to the world," said Belinda Quinones, Cassadi and Kandice's grandmother.
She said her granddaughters, their father and her niece, King, were headed home from having dinner at McDonald's.
"Yesterday [Tuesday] was a day I'm really, really grateful I had with those girls," said Quinones. "I wouldn't have traded it for the world."
The driver of the truck, David Johnson II, admitted to authorities at the scene that he had been drinking.
Van Buren County investigators said they'll ask for several charges to be filed against Johnson, including operating while intoxicated causing death.
"He was bound to kill somebody... He took the chance and this time he lost," said Quinones. "He punched a hole through our whole family."
"Grab them, hold onto them, love them while you have the chance," said Quinones.
The girls' father, 24-year-old Justin Berryhill, was the front-seat passenger. He was severely injured in the crash and remained hospitalized on Wednesday.
David Partain, one of Justin Berryhill's best friends, visited him in the hospital Wednesday with Berryhill's family.
"His mother and his brother were there," said Partain. "It looked like they had been through war. They were motionless and couldn't really talk."
Partain said Berryhill has a punctured lung and injuries to his face and leg.
"He's moaning in his sleep. He doesn't have any idea yet of what's taken place. He's like in shock still," said Partain.
Partain said he's not sure if Berryhill yet realizes his daughters are gone.
"They told him, but when they told him he was pretty much under anesthesia, like he had just got into the wreck," said Partain. "They told him, but he hasn't fully recovered and understood what's really happening. He's still asking for his girls, like, 'How are my daughters? Where are my babies?'"
As Berryhill drifted in an out of consciousness Wednesday, family said, they had to tell him more than once that the girls were dead.
Partain also spoke about Justin's two girls.
"Just happy kids. Normal kids, you know? Running around, playing, not a worry in the world," he recalled.
Brittney King was the cousin of the girl's mother, Alisha Cisneros, who owns the Grand Prix.
King's stepfather told 24 Hour News 8 she lived with him and described her as outgoing and a friend to everyone.
But King was also not supposed to be on the road. Her license had been revoked for an operating while intoxicated conviction.
Justin Berryhill shares a Facebook page with Cisneros. The page is full of comments dating back to just a few hours after the wreck.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Cisneros posted this on the page:
"justin and i want to thank everyone for your support!!! there are no words to express how this feels!! ... mommy and daddy love you cassie babe an kandi girl!!!"
The family has set up a memorial fund under Justin Berryhill's name to help cover with funeral and other expenses. Donations can be made at any Chemical Bank branch.
Another fund to cover funeral expenses for the Berryhill sisters has been set up by their mother's family at Fifth Third Bank. Donations may be made at any Fifth Third Bank branch under the name Berryhill.
24 Hour News 8's Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.
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