A father is left with just a memory of his 3-year-old daughter calling him “Papi” after she died in a crash over the weekend. Her mother is accused of felony charges stemming from the accident.
In an exclusive interview Monday, Carlos Ramirez told NBC 7 he is cherishing memories of his daughter Carlee: her face, her final words and Oct. 17, 2011 -- the day she was born.
“I was happy,” said Ramirez in Spanish. “She's my only daughter. She was everything. She was everything to me.” Her name came from a combination of Carlos and her mother’s name, Brandy Teague.
But on Saturday, he found out he would never see her again after Teague drove her car off the road, over a curb and into a power pole in El Cajon.
Carlee and her 10-year-old half-brother were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where the little girl died.
Ramirez’ tear-filled eyes began to overflow as he recalled Carlee’s last words to him as she left his house with her mother.
“The last image I have of her is when she was yelling, ‘Papi !Papi! Papi!’” he said. “That’s the only thing I have in my head right now."
Ramirez is left fed up and frustrated with the mother of his child. Friends told NBC 7 that on Saturday, he did not want Brandy to take his little girl because he suspected she was high, but he did not have full custody of her.
El Cajon police say Teague, who was driving on a suspended license, was under the influence of drugs and may have fallen asleep at the wheel when she crashed. She now faces gross vehicular manslaughter in Carlee’s death. The mother’s sons, ages 10 and 2, survived.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for Carlee’s funeral arrangements.
"She's not with us, but she's in the Lord's hands," said family friend Claire Tapete. "We'll meet her. We'll see her again."