GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- As a family mourns the loss of a pregnant mother killed in a weekend crash along US-131, they're now trying to focus on her 3-year-old son, who is still in the hospital.
Valery Arreola, 21, died Sunday after her car stalled on the freeway and was hit from behind. Her two sons were both in the vehicle at the time. One of them, 3-year-old Guillermo, suffered critical injuries in the crash.
The boys' father, Maximiliano Velasco, has spent the last several days in his son's hospital room. He says Guillermo is fighting hard and that the family needs all of the prayers they can get.
"I know my sons are going to miss her so much," Velasco said of Arreola.
Velasco says he learned over the phone Sunday that Arreola passed away in the crash and his son was badly injured.
His other son, 5-year-old Max, had some scrapes and bruises, but Guillermo suffered critical injuries. "We're talking from head to toe," Velasco said, "broken leg, fractured spine, a few blood clots in the brain; a lot of surgeries have been done."
Velasco says Valery was an incredible mother who would do anything for her kids.
"She was hard working, and everything about her is now in them," he said.
He and Valery had been separated for a year, but he says that they kept a good relationship. He says he's looking for strength now to raise his sons without their mother.
"I'm really trying to focus on my son's recovery," Velasco said.
Another person pulling for the little boy's recovery is Amijha Overton. She says she was driving directly behind the truck that crashed into the family's car. She posted a video on Facebook, discussing how she tried to help.
"And then she started saying 'I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant'," Overton said. "And that's when I started telling 911, 'Can you get here quicker? Because this woman is severely trapped."
It was then that Overton noticed that kids were in the car. "I was like wow, it's just going from bad to worse," she said.
As she talked to Valery, Overton says, she didn't realize how seriously Valery was hurt.
"I didn't know it was going to end that way," Overton said of Valery's death. "I keep replaying it over and over in my head. I wonder what could I have told her. Tell her to fight? I didn't know how severe it was at that time."
Overton says she's hoping to meet Valery's family once they're emotionally ready. "I send them my deepest condolences," she said.
If you'd like to help the family with funeral and medical expenses, they've started a GoFundMe page.