Friends remember Maryland woman killed by SUV as selfless, devoted mother



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RIVERDALE PARK, Maryland — Friends of a Prince George's County woman hit and killed as she walked home with her 3-year-old daughter remember her as a selfless and devoted mother who always put her children first.

Thelma Fernandez Flores, 31, of Riverdale Park, was killed Monday after an SUV hit her and her daughter as they were walking home from the grocery store. The girl, Isabella, was in critical condition Wednesday, but her family said she was improving.

Friends of Flores told The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1A9g4ia ) that Flores had been excitedly preparing for Isabella's first day of preschool and saving money to throw her other daughter a quinceanera, a Latin American party celebrating a girl's 15th birthday.

"She had a lot of dreams," said her friend Socorro Saavedra. "She didn't make it."

Prince George's County police have declined to say whether Flores and her daughter were in a crosswalk when they were struck.

The driver of the SUV remained at the scene and has been cooperating. Police are investigating the accident to determine whether charges against the driver are appropriate.

Saavedra said that witnesses of the crash told family that Flores spent her last moments rushing to protect her daughter from the brunt of the crash.

"She was a great mother because whatever she did, she said she wanted to do it for her two daughters," Saavedra said.

Meanwhile Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer called for a review of the intersection where Flores was killed to improve safety for pedestrians. He said three years ago, he asked the Maryland State Highway Administration to install more prominent pedestrian protections in the area, but that state officials said that more equipment wasn't justified.

"There are eight lanes of traffic, and the only protection there are signs and a crosswalk," Archer said. "We are demanding a change."

In the past four years, the intersection where Flores was killed had eight pedestrian crashes, but none fatal until Monday, said David Buck, a spokesman for the highway agency. The state declined to install additional traffic features in the past because engineering and crash data showed there wasn't a need, he said.

But once the crash report from Flores' death is finished, Buck said the state will consider reviewing the intersection's safety again.

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