LAWRENCE — The young woman killed in a horrific crash at a city intersection early Thursday morning was a devoted wife and mother of two young children who was on her way to get some food, a relative said Sunday.
"They were going to Wendy's. My brother had actually been texting with her when it happened," said Elizabeth Hernandez, sister-in-law of Gabriela Hernandez, 24, who was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
Gabriela Hernandez was a passenger in a 2011 Honda Civic that was struck by a gray 2006 Acura at the intersection of Winthrop Avenue and South Union Street at 12:23 a.m. Thursday.
The driver of the Honda Civic, a 20-year-old Lawrence woman, was in critical condition after the crash.
The three occupants of the Acura, a 31-year old Lawrence man, a 29-year old Lawrence man and a 29-year-old Methuen man, were taken to Lawrence General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries after the crash, authorities said.
No charges have been filed at this time, according to police.
With both prayer and song, relatives and friends remembered Gabriela in an hour-long memorial vigil Sunday evening in Stockton Park, which is steps away from the crash scene.
Gabriela's husband of four years, Darwin Hernandez, and the couple's two children, Lia, 2, and Deyzel, 3, were there.
Elizabeth Hernandez said her sister-in-law could initially be shy with people she didn't know. Once she warmed up to them, Gabriela was warm and friendly.
"She always had a smile on her face," Elizabeth said.
She said she and Gabriela both shared a love of good food. Gabriela was an excellent cook and had perfected many Dominican dishes.
Whenever there was a discussion about whether to attend an event, Gabriela would ask, "Is there going to be food?" Elizabeth recalled.
Early Thursday morning, when the crash occurred, Gabriela's husband was in the Dominican Republic with their two children visiting family. Elizabeth said the two had been texting one another prior to the crash.
Elizabeth said Gabriela was experiencing a little freedom from caring for her children when she and her friend decided to make the late-night food run to Wendys. However, she rarely went out and spent much of the past several years "dedicating herself to being an amazing mom," Elizabeth said.
Her children were always clean and well-dressed. And even if Gabriela only had a chance to have a cup of coffee in the morning, "her kids were always fed," Elizabeth said.
"I want people to remember her as happy and smiling. She was a super mom and always willing to help," Elizabeth said of her sister-in-law.
Gabriela worked in Lawrence as a home health aide, she said.
Many who attended the memorial vigil Sunday were fellow Catholics who attend Corpus Christi Parish in Lawrence, Elizabeth said.
A funeral service for Gabriela will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Perez Funeral Home at 298 So. Broadway.
On Tuesday, her body will be returned to the Dominican Republic for burial, said Elizabeth, noting Gabriela was of both Dominican and German descent.
As a criminal investigation into the crash continues, Elizabeth said the family is relying heavily on their faith.
"We know God will do his justice. ... We know God will handle this," she said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.