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DIGGING DEEPER: Families mourn victims of Oro Valley crash

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ORO VALLEY, Ariz. - A horrific crash took the lives of two young people on Nov. 13, 2019.

It happened at Shannon Road and Saguaro Divide.

The Digging Deeper Team uncovered documents that indicated the driver who caused the traffic collision may have been texting.

For the first time since that crash, News 4 Tucson was able to speak to the families of Caitlyn Festerling and Paul Garcia.

Purple and yellow were Caitlyn’s favorite color. So, her family had bracelets made up in those colors with a special message. It gives the day and time when they tragically died, followed by the message: “Just Drive.”

“It's just something that I never even imagined we would experience,” Caitlyn’s mother, Julie Festerling, told News 4 Tucson.

Festerling still can't believe her 21-year-old daughter is gone. Neither can her youngest daughter.

“I mean every day she asks me 'why did my sister have to die?' I mean that is stuff a six-year-old should have to be thinking about,” Festerling told News 4 Tucson.

A roadside memorial is located where the collision occurred.

Oro Valley Police Investigators told News 4 Tucson there’s a possibility the driver who rear-ended Caitlyn’s vehicle, pushing her into oncoming traffic may have been distracted.

Detectives said they did find alcohol in the trunk of the car that rear-ended the young couple.

They did field sobriety tests and found the driver was not impaired. But, whether she was texting while driving remains an open question.

In the court documents, The Digging Deeper Team found it stated a person close to the driver claimed they got a text from the driver at 3:40 p.m. He replied to the message that was time-stamped 3:41 p.m. The 9-1-1 call about the crash came in at 3:42 p.m.

“She's gone and accepting the fact that we will never get to spend time on this earth again,” Festerling cried.

The 21-year-old Pima Community College student did so much in the short time she was on this earth.

“She had two more classes to take and she was going to finish this semester that we are in now, then she was planning to transfer to the U of A and pursue a degree in business there,” said Festerling.

Paul Garcia’s mother, Debra, sent News 4 Tucson the following statement:

“We have suffered and continue to suffer the tragic and senseless loss of our beloved Son. Paul and Caitlin's love, kindness, generosity and fun spirit enhanced the lives of everyone they met. Their goals and ambitions would have changed the world for the better-that have now been erased. It is a much darker place without them in it. We are shattered and will never be the same.”

Debra, Mother of Paul Garcia

Both families have been left heartbroken.

“Every night we say our prayers, my six year says and thank you, Jesus, for Caitlyn I miss my sissy so so much,” Festerling added.

The investigation continues and detectives will be turning over their findings to the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

News 4 Tucson will keep you posted on this case.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Paul Birmingham

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