TAMPA — The teen girl fatally struck on the Gandy Bridge by a suspected drunk driver was a “sweet girl” who was always smiling, according to a GoFundMe page created for her family.
The page says 15-year-old Zanyhia Arce was killed on Thursday by a drunk driver. Alexandria Muriel, an office manager at MB Drywall Solutions in Tampa, confirmed that Arce was the girl killed in the Gandy Bridge crash that led to the arrest of a Riverview man on a DUI manslaughter charge.
Zanyhia’s brother, Nico Arce, is a manager for the company, so the company donated $500 and employees also donated individually, Muriel said.
“We love the family and wanted to support them in any way we could,” she said.
The page creator, Abigail Gorsuch, did not immediately respond to a message from a Tampa Bay Times reporter on Friday. According to the page, Zanyhia’s parents are Gorsuch’s aunt and uncle.
Arce was the youngest of four children, the page says.
“We are all so extremely saddened by the sudden tragic loss of our sweet girl Zanyhia,” the page says. “Any time I saw Zanyhia she had a smile on her face. Watching her smile instantly put a smile on my face.”
Tampa police did not release Arce’s name or the names of three other people riding in Infiniti Q35 with her because of its interpretation of Marsy’s Law, a voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution that was meant to protect crime victims but that deprives the public of information long available under Florida’s public records law.
Sebastian Gutierrez, 28, was heading east in a Honda Accord about 4:15 a.m. when he struck the Infiniti. The car had run out of gas and the driver pulled onto the left shoulder, according to police.
Police said a 15-year-old girl who was standing outside of the Infiniti on the passenger side was struck and killed. A 20-year-old man who’d been sitting in the back of the Infiniti had a minor injury from a leg pinned between the car and a guardrail. A 17-year-old girl sitting in the back seat also had minor injuries.
A 20-year-old man who’d been driving the Infiniti and was also outside of the car at the time of the crash told police he tried to warn his passengers when he saw what appeared to be a drunk driver swerving from side to side and heading in their direction.
Gutierrez remained at the scene after the crash and did not have any apparent injuries. Police smelled alcohol on him and he performed poorly on field sobriety exercises, according to an arrest report. The report says his blood alcohol level was .094. A driver is presumed impaired under Florida law at .08.
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Gutierrez was being held Friday without bail, according to jail personnel.
“My aunt and uncle are devastated and were not prepared to lose a child,” the GoFundMe page says. “I am making it my duty to help them as best as I can and am hoping that I can raise enough money for them to have a beautiful memorial/funeral for their baby girl. They will be out of work for some time attempting to heal and make sense of all of this and being there for their 3 other children during this time.”