3-year-old girl killed in crash; 4 others injured

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BIG PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A 3-year-old girl was killed in a crash east of White Cloud Saturday afternoon that also injured her siblings, father and a family friend.

A GoFundMe account set up for the family identifies the girl as Alaya Melchor. Authorities initially said she was 2; family later clarified she was 3.

Speaking to 24 Hour News 8 via video call Sunday, Alaya’s aunt Tasha Wilson recalled the little girl as sassy, funny and smart.

“She had the most beautiful brown eyes, big ol’ dimples and a smile that lit up the whole room,” Wilson said.

Alaya, who was from Shelby, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which happened around 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of E. Baseline Rd. and S. Elm Ave. in Big Prairie Township east of White Cloud, according to the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s department said an 18-year-old man from Morley was headed south in a pickup truck on S. Elm Avenue when he failed to stop at the intersection of E. Baseline Road. He hit an SUV heading east on E. Baseline Road in the intersection.

Alaya, along with four others, were in the SUV at the time of the crash. Three people were taken to the hospital via ambulance, including the driver, a 27-year-old woman from New Era; a 29-year-old man; and a 7-year-old girl. Another passenger in the SUV, a 5-year-old boy, was airlifted to the hospital.

The aunt identified the driver as family friend Irene Prado; the man as Alaya’s father Casey Melchor; and the children as his daughter and son Airial and Abel, Alaya’s siblings.

Wilson said the family hasn’t yet been able to process Alaya’s death because they’re so focused on the others’ recovery. She said neither Airial nor Abel remember what happened.

The pickup truck driver and his passenger, a 14-year-old boy from Morley, weren’t hurt in the crash.

Authorities say neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash, which is still under investigation.

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