TAMPA, Fla. — The 15-year-old victim of an accused drunk driving crash on the Gandy Bridge is being remembered as a sweet teenager with a warm smile.
Friends tell ABC Action News, the victim from Thursday morning’s crash is Zanyhia Arce, of Tampa.
“It hits home close,” said Chandler Mitchell. “It’s like me losing my brother or a sister that I never had. It’s terrible.”
Police say 28-year-old Sebastian Gutierrez crashed into an Infiniti that was on the shoulder of the road. Police say the car had run out of gas and the driver, a 20-year-old, pulled off to the left shoulder.
The driver told police when he got out he could see what appeared to be a drunk driver swerving from side to side heading in their direction. Police say the driver tried to warn his passengers, another 20-year-old man, a 17-year-old girl, and Arce.
Arce was standing outside of the passenger side of the car and was killed.
Gutierrez showed signs of impairment, according to police, and was charged with DUI manslaughter.
“This tragedy has hit them because of somebody out on the street being a drunk driver, breaking the law, and they were coming home with friends and never expect that was going to happen,” said Ron Mitchell.
Ron Mitchell works with Arce’s brother at MB Drywall Solutions in Tampa. The company has since donated $500 to help Arce's family pay for funeral expenses.
Mitchell said Friday Arce’s family has experienced a tough year already. They all contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and are now dealing with a sudden tragedy.
“They’re not a rich family, they’re rich in love and rich in community but they’re going to need help putting her to rest in the right way.”