San Diego

‘Give Them a Tight Hug': Teen Son of Woman Killed in Rollover Has Plea for Families

The teenager who was inside a car that crashed on State Route 94, killing his mother, wants you to call your loved ones and tell them how much you love them.

Maria Christina Duran, 35, was killed Tuesday in a rollover accident in Spring Valley. She was behind the wheel at the time of the accident, but also in the car were her 17-year-old son, Rafael, and 12-year-old daughter, Christy.

Rafael Barba told NBC 7 he is thankful to have survived but is also deeply saddened by the death of his mother

"Hugging her, kissing her. I miss just everything," Rafael said.

He said his mother encouraged her children by example.

She worked at the La Jolla Hilton and also had a side job cleaning houses.

Rafael said his mom’s main goal was “Just always advance us in life. Help us move to the next step to become great.”

Duran was taking the kids to school before the accident.

Investigators say a car entering westbound SR-94 cut Maria off. She was able to avoid a collision, but then lost control of her SUV.

It overturned in the grassy median and rolled several times before coming to rest against the center divider.

Rafael and Christy survived with only minor injuries, but Maria, who was wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene.

“It’s just crazy how one second someone can be here and the next they are gone," Rafael said.

He admired his mother deeply. He called her his Superwoman -- not made of steel but, strong enough to raise a loving son.

“No matter if you’re on bad terms with your mom and dad or even your guardian. Always tell them 'I love you' and give them a tight hug," he said. 

"Your mom will always be your backbone and rock, no matter how many times you bump heads with her," he said. 

"I just want you guys to do me a favor and tell your mom you love her every time you can because who knows when they’ll be gone."

Duran’s family said the driver who cut off Maria was a 23-year-old man.

He saw the accident in his mirror then returned to the scene to tell investigators what happened.

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