by: Richard Elliot Updated:
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Sandy Springs police are still trying to determine what happened when a teenage mother and her baby daughter died in fiery chain-reaction crash on Interstate 285 Thursday night.
Gabriella Faiz, 17, and her daughter Jada died when their stalled car was struck by two different cars in the far right lane of I-285 near Georgia 400. Jada would have turned 2 on Monday.
Gabriella's mother, Al-Quiyamah Faiz, was in another car when she called her daughter and found out about the mechanical problems.
"I was driving down 285, and I didn't see her," Faiz said. "I called her back, and I said, 'Is that you?' She said, 'Yeah mom, the car stopped.' I said ‘OK, stay right there. I'm going to get off the highway and come back around.’ And when I looked around, all I could see was orange flame."
Faiz said at first, police wouldn't let her near the scene until she convinced them she was the mother.
According to Faiz, Gabriella's car had just been repaired, and they were running errands when they started on I-285.
"I told her to stay in the slow lane," Faiz said. "She went to the fast lane. She was hit by cars from behind, and it incinerated the car."
The Sandy Springs Police Department shut down three lanes of I-285 Friday morning as they continued their investigation into what happened. At one point, an investigator climbed up a fire department ladder truck to get a better view and snap pictures of the scene.
"Right now, we're still completing the on-scene investigation," said Sandy Springs Police Captain Keith Zgonc. "So, determination on any charges will be made either later this weekend or early next week."
Zgonc stressed the need for drivers in malfunctioning cars to pull to the right shoulder as quickly as possible.
"If they're not sure of the capabilities of their car, or something seems to be going wrong, immediately start getting over to the right so you can get over to that shoulder if at all possible," he said.
Faiz described her daughter as defiant and headstrong, yet full of life and love of her daughter and the rest of her family.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The family is also making arrangements to set up a memorial fund.
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