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A New Jersey community is grieving after a horrific crash killed a father and his four daughters, and badly injured the girls' mother, as they drove home from vacation over the weekend.
Delaware State Police said 61-year-old Audie Trinidad and his daughters, Kaitlyn, 20, Danna, 17, and 13-year-old twins, Melissa and Allison, were killed Friday after their minivan collided with a pickup truck that had veered across a highway median and into their path.
“How are you going to bury five people at the same time?” Trinidad’s brother, Daniel, told the New York Post a day later outside the family’s home in Teaneck, New Jersey. "This is like a tragedy a hundred times over."
Mary Rose Ballocanag, 53, Trinidad's wife, was the lone survivor in the minivan. She was being treated in a Delaware hospital for broken ribs, legs and other serious injuries.
She "continues to fight for her life," her brother said in a Facebook post in which he sought prayers.
Trinidad, a U.S. Navy veteran, moved to the United States from the Philippines in the 1980s. He was a U.S. Postal Service employee who worked at an office in the Bronx, his brother said.
“My brother was a loving husband. He’s the oldest of eight siblings. He could not say no to his wife and would always give to his daughters,” Daniel told the Post.
Delaware State Police said the cause of the accident remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.
Trinidad and his family had been returning home from a weeklong visit to Ocean City, Maryland. Just days earlier, he had texted photos to his brother of the blue crabs the family ate on the Fourth of July.
Over the weekend, members of the family’s tight-knit New Jersey community paid their respects during a vigil at a local park. They also set up a GoFundMe account to help the family cover the costs of upcoming funerals as well as Ballocanag’s medical bills.
“They’re a loving family, a God-fearing family. My brother and the kids goes to church every Sunday. I don’t know why this thing happens to nice people,” Daniel told NorthJersey.com.
“The coping part will be the hardest part.”