Updated: June 26, 2020 06:10 PM
Created: June 26, 2020 05:53 PM
A Lakeville family is dealing with the devastating reality of a highway crash that left four people dead, including their son. Their daughter was also in the car and is in the hospital with serious injuries.
"Never, ever, ever forget to tell your babies you love them and hug them," said Gena Fried, through tears.
The crash happened Saturday on Interstate 35W near 66th Street in Richfield at around 11 p.m.
According to the crash report, 21-year-old Alfredo Torres of St. Paul was traveling south in the northbound lanes when he hit an oncoming SUV. Troopers are still investigating why he was driving the wrong way on the interstate and whether he was under the influence. Torres died in the crash.
Three people in the SUV also died, including 25-year-old Briana Vazquez, 28-year-old Hassan Abdulmalik and 27-year-old Tyler Fried. Alaura Fried was the only survivor.
"It's like your heart is ripped in two," said Gena Fried, Tyler and Alaura's mother. "You have one side that is my son, Tyler, and that loss, which I still cannot quite understand and comprehend right now, and then you have this other side that is just hope for our daughter."
"We had just seen them 30 minutes before and talked to them," added their father, Michael Fried. "They wished us a happy anniversary."
It was Michael and Gena Fried's 28th wedding anniversary. They said they had just said goodbye to Tyler and Alaura, who were heading to downtown Minneapolis with friends.
Not long after, they received a call from one of Tyler and Alaura's friends who was in the car behind them and witnessed the crash.
The couple rushed to the hospital. They were met by state troopers when they arrived.
"A horrendous and preventable tragedy," said Col. Matt Langer with Minnesota State Patrol. "There are no words that can ever fully make sense out of a senseless crash."
"They took us in a room and explained to us that our son was gone but that our daughter was alive and fighting," Michael Fried recalled. "So, at one moment, you're heartbroken and then you just have a ray of hope the second moment, so it's just a rollercoaster of emotions."
The Frieds were told Alaura had bleeding on the brain, skull fractures, a broken leg, broken pelvis and shattered ankle. She was on a ventilator until Thursday. They have only been able to see her twice since the crash because of COVID-19 restrictions at the hospital.
"So far, she's beat every odd you could imagine," Gena Fried said. "This girl, she's such a tiny little peanut and she is fighting so hard with everything she has."
The crash comes at an already difficult time for the family. They recently had to permanently close their medical spa in Eagan due to financial struggles with the pandemic.
The Frieds said they do not harbor any anger toward the wrong-way driver.
"Anything we give, that takes away from our hope and our love and our positivity that we have for our kids," Gena Friend said.
They said they are thankful for the troopers who helped at the scene and the doctors and nurses now watching over their daughter.
There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the family with funeral expenses and medical bills.
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