SAN ANTONIO – The father of a 15-year-old girl killed in a suspected drunken driving crash Saturday said through his feelings of anger and sadness that he has questions about what led up to his daugther's death.
Raymond Arizola, the father of Raylina Arizola, said he learned his daughter had died in a crash around 11:30 p.m. Saturday when he had gotten out of work.
"I don't know where (the driver) got a car. She didn't have a driver's license. She was drinking. Had no business driving, and they all went for a joy ride and everybody got hurt -- severely," Raymond Arizola said. "Except the driver."
Police said Raylina, a 10th grader at STEM Early College High School, was a passenger in a Ford Fusion being driven by a 14-year-old girl who admitted to police she had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel.
According to preliminary information from police, the 14-year-old was traveling southbound on Padre Drive at a high rate of speed around 10:30 p.m. when she hit a curb, causing her to lose control of the car. The teen crashed her car through a wire fence, hitting multiple wooden posts and slamming into a tree, killing Raylina, police said.
Raymond Arizola said he had already told the 14-year-old driver to leave his daughter alone.
"'Don't be picking my daughter up. I don't know you. You don't have a license. I don't know what you're doing with that car,'" Raymond Arizola recalled telling the teen. "I want to find out who put keys in this young lady's hand. I want to find out who bought her this alcohol."
The suspected teenage driver, who KSAT is not naming because she is a minor, faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter.
Raymond Arizola said his daughter was his "everything."
"She's the reason I stayed in this neighborhood. She's the reason I worked very much to provide. She's the reason I did a lot of things," Raymond Arizola said, adding that moving forward from the loss is hard to imagine.
Through tears, Arizola reflected on the gaping hole the loss of his daughter has left him, saying, "There's no one to wake up at 6-7 in the morning anymore to go to school. When this happens to a parent, it feels like they've sucked the whole purpose right out of your heart."
He said he had always contemplated moving to a different side of town to get his daughter away from bad influences but said he was put at ease by the fact that his teenage daughter was taking college-level classes and excelling. The 15-year-old's teachers, he said, had always told him that his daughter had a lot of potential.
"What if I would have moved? What was that girl doing with a car? Who are her parents?" Raymond Arizola pondered. "They're gonna know what I look like now. If they have each other, that's more than I have left. (My daughter) was really all I had."
Raymond Arizola said he and his daughter enjoyed traveling the country together, visiting places including Delaware, Michigan and St. Louis. Everywhere they traveled, his daughter made friends.
"I'm really touched by how many people reached out," Raymond Arizola said. "I didn't know she had so many friends. I knew she had friends, but not like that."
Students at STEM Early College High School received the following message Monday:
"It is with profound sadness that we report that Raylina Arizola, a 10th grader, died yesterday evening, April 14, due to a car accident. We have reached out to the family and are keeping them in our thoughts.
"Please be advised that counselors have been assigned to the campus to assist students and staff in dealing with this tragic loss. Many of our students may have been friends or classmates with Raylina and her family. Over the next few days, you may wish to encourage your student to express his or her feelings. Please feel free to call the school for assistance with grief counseling if needed as they will be available for as long as necessary.
"This is a very sad situation for the family involved and our school community. We will continue to keep those most impacted by this tragedy in our thoughts."
On social media, students said they would be wearing blue to school this week to honor Raylina.