As law enforcement steps up patrols to keep Valley roads safe, a Henderson family is seeing firsthand how tragedy can unfold in a matter of seconds.
Erika Funtila, 23, died last week after her pickup truck crashed into a tow truck parked on the side of U.S. Highway 95 near Horizon Drive.
"She's my treasure," said Butch Funtila, who is Erika's father. "She's still my baby."
Erika Funtila meant everything to her parents Butch and Cely. Their only daughter was working towards a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice at Nevada State College. She was also a devoted assistant volleyball coach at Southeast Career and Technical Academy. In one phone call, they found out the love of their lives was gone.
"I'm just happy I made her do everything that she wanted, because I didn't realize that she would leave us this early," said Cely Funtila, Erika's mother.
Butch and Cely Funtila were in Seattle last Thursday when Erika's pickup truck swiped a parked tow truck on southbound 95. It caused a three-car wreck. She died instantly.
"All of a sudden I heard him say 'What? Erika is dead?" said Cely Funtila. "That's when I lost it. I told everybody to just tell me this is a bad dream."
Questions remain as to what caused the crash. Butch Funtila calls into question whether the tow truck driver provided enough warning signs behind the car.
"They can easily be protected by that," said Butch Funtila. "It could have never happened but we don't know. We don't know what happened."
Instead of focusing on the unknown, the Funtilas are remembering the memories, laughter and joy that Erika brought in her short life.
"I'm not losing her," said Butch Funtila. "She is still in my heart."
"You were just loaned to me by God and wholeheartedly I'm going to return you to him," said Cely Funtila.
The Nevada Highway Patrol will complete their report on the accident within 30 days. Erika Funtila will be buried Saturday at St. Peter's Catholic Church on South Boulder Highway.
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