‘She always had a positive attitude’: Girl killed in SR 347 crash recalled

The Maricopa Sandlot team, Suheiry "Hydie" Fernandez, in a red shirt, stands with her teammates. [submitted]

A young girl who died Wednesday after a multi-car crash Sunday on State Route 347 is lovingly remembered as a goofball, and as a caring person who always made sure her teammates were having a good time, according to her softball coach. 

The girl, Suheiry Fernandez, 10, a student at Legacy Traditional School, was known as “Hydie,” said her coach Mike O’Dell.  

O’Dell had known Hydie for almost two years, since she joined Maricopa Sandlot, the softball team he coaches. 

“She was always the goofball, she was always the one making sure everybody had a good time,” O’Dell said of Hydie, the second-oldest among five siblings.  

“She was always making sure, no matter what was going on, she was going to have a good time, and she was going to make sure other people were having a good time, too.” 

The Sandlot community is a family, O’Dell explained, and as a result everyone connected is taking the news hard. 

“It’s just heartbreaking … everybody is impacted,” he said. “There’s not a single player, or family member, that hasn’t felt the impact yet.” 

“It’s been rough on the girls,” he continued. “We’re together. We are a family.  

“She was always one of us — good days, bad days, good games, bad games, didn’t matter. She always had a positive attitude.” 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Fernandez family cover medical and funeral expenses, O’Dell said. Also, March 31 and April 1-2 Yogurt Jungle, 21101 N. John Wayne Pkwy., will donate 10% of all sales to the family. 

The girl’s mother, Celia Fernandez, wrote on her GoFundMe page that others seriously injured in the crash were Fernandez’s mother, sister and brother. Fernandez said that Hydie was inside one of the cars and was ejected by the force of the impact in the four-vehicle crash on State Route 347.

According to Raul Garcia Jr., a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, a black Ford passenger vehicle was disabled on SR 347 in the left lane near milepost 185 with its hazard lights flashing. A driver of a Nissan SUV stopped behind the disabled vehicle to assist, with hazard lights also flashing. The occupants of both vehicles got out and stood on the roadway.

A Honda SUV in the left lane slowed down when the driver saw a man run east to west across the roadway near the two stopped vehicles, Garcia said. That driver reportedly saw the Nissan but was unable to stop and collided with it. The impact pushed the Nissan into the group of people in the roadway. The investigation is ongoing.

An increase in DPS Troopers patrolling SR 347 from the Maricopa city limit to Interstate 10 and pulling over violators has been seen every day this week in the wake of the fatal crash. 

“The Highway Patrol Division increased traffic enforcement operations in recent months (on SR 347),” Garcia said.