Family

Multi-Car Crash Takes the Lives of a Dad and Four Daughters — Mom Survives

Almost too painful for words — Navy veteran and his girls are all gone, as a paramedic with 28 years on the job said it was 'the worst I've seen'

A vigil on Saturday night in Teaneck, New Jersey, brought out scores of people — many of whom could be heard crying as they grieved a great loss.

A father and his four daughters from that northern New Jersey town were all killed Friday after a pickup truck crossed a highway median and struck their minivan in Delaware. Only the mother survived. The family was traveling home after a vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, The New York Post reported.

The family had been heading north on Delaware’s Route 1 back to their Bergen County home. The truck crossed the median and struck the family near Townsend, Delaware.

Audie Marquez Trinidad, 61, and his wife, Mary Rose Ballocanag, 53, were driving in their minivan with their four daughters, The Post reported.

Daughter Kaitlyn, 20, a nursing student, had just finished a semester at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. Danna, 17, was going into her last year of high school, and the twins, who turned 14 last month, had just finished eighth grade.

Trinidad and Ballocanag met in New York after coming to the United States in the 1980s, according to Northjersey.com.

Do you support individual military members being able to opt out of getting the COVID vaccine?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Trinidad was a postal worker in the Bronx. Ballocanag is a nurse at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan.

The father’s and daughters’ bodies were unrecognizable after the crash, Audie Trinidad’s brother, Daniel Trinidad, told The Post.

Ballocanag remained hospitalized Saturday with multiple fractures; she is expected to survive.

She is aware that her whole family has been killed.

“Right after the accident, she called her friend,” Daniel Trinidad said. Ballocanag wept to her friend from her hospital bed, “They’re all gone,” Ballocanag’s friend told him.

“How are you going to bury five people at the same time?” he said tearfully on Saturday, after rushing from Miami to the family’s Teaneck home. “We will never see them again.”

Daniel Trinidad explained his family’s close relationships — and their faith.

“They’re a God-fearing family. They go to church,” he said said. “My brother was a loving husband. He’s the oldest of eight siblings. He could not say no to his wife and would always give to his daughters.”

He added, “Every summer, they went on field trips — Orlando, Six Flags,” he continued. “I would joke and say, ‘You’d do anything for your family. Your wife asks, and it’s always ‘yes.’ ”

Daniel Trinidad expressed his grief to The Post. “There’s no answer,” he said. “If anyone knows the answer, call me, text me. God said there’s a plan. What’s God’s plan now? Now my sister-in-law is all by herself. What will she do? This is like a tragedy 100 times over.”

The driver of the truck, a 44-year-old man from East New Market, Maryland, will not be identified by authorities unless charges are filed, Delaware State Police spokesman Cpl. Melissa Jaffe told Northjersey.com.

There was reportedly a 30-year-old male passenger in the truck as well, and police didn’t say why the driver crossed the median of Route 1, Delaware’s major north-south highway — or whether any impairment was a factor.

“I know why this happened. God needs more angels. He was running low.”

A large decal on the truck reads “Aledak Metalworks,” a reference to a metal fabrication shop owned by Donald David Robbins, whose age and address fit the police description, said The Post.

Both Trinidad and Ballocanag had been wearing seat belts; at least some of the daughters were not, police said.

“I’ve been in the business 28 years,” Larry DuHadaway, an off-duty firefighter who saw the crash and joined in the rescue, told The Delaware News Journal. “It’s the worst one I’ve seen.”

DuHadaway had been driving four cars behind the pickup when it clipped another car, then became airborne as it struck the median. It then crossed into the northbound lane, perpendicular to opposing traffic. He said the Trinidad family’s minivan could not avoid T-boning the truck.

Related: ‘The Setting of the Sun Is Prelude to Its Rising’

DuHadaway, also a paramedic, said there was little he could do. “I felt kind of helpless, to be honest.”

Sharing his overwhelming grief with The Post, Daniel Trinidad said, “Now I know the answer why this happened. God needs more angels. He was running low.”

Another of the father’s brothers, Nelson Trinidad, 48, also shared the Teaneck house with the family. “We always eat together,” he said. “I always drop the twins at school every morning before I go to work.”

In tears, he said, “I’m going to miss them so much.”

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.

Join the Discussion

COMMENTS POLICY: We have no tolerance for messages of violence, racism, vulgarity, obscenity or other such discourteous behavior. Thank you for contributing to a respectful and useful online dialogue.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments