Loved ones mourn man killed in crash after driver reportedly ran red light

Posted at 9:47 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 11:00:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A family is mourning a Salt Lake City man who was killed by a driver who reportedly ran a red light.

Marcus Ortega's mother and girlfriend are now at a loss with how to move forward after the death of the 28 year old man.

"He has two little sisters that he was always here for, and his two kids," said a tearful Arlene Deherrera, Ortega's mother. "He was just always here and all of a sudden he's just ripped from our lives, and he's just gone."

Ortega died on Wednesday after the car he was in got hit by a truck at 1700 South and 900 West.

Police said the driver of the truck, a 23-year old man, ran a red light. He and a passenger survived.

Ortega's girlfriend, Latisha Goodman, said he was on his way home with his 5-year old daughter, Isabella, and his cousin, who was driving the car. They are okay, though she said Isabella suffered a concussion.

Not only does Ortega leave behind Isabella, he and Goodman have 1.5 year old son named Marcus Jr.

"He was always about his kids," Goodman said. "He was always about his sisters. He was always really nice and helping people out."

She and Deherrera described Ortega as a warm, caring person and big, lovable teddy bear.

He was a family man who loved his kids deeply, they said.

A man his son will never get the chance to know, and a man whose family didn't get to say goodbye to.

"Marcos was my son, but he was my partner," Deherrera said, tears welling in her eyes. "He was the one that was there for me, and we always helped each other be okay. And now he's gone."

Now, they have to focus on funeral arrangements, and taking care of his children.

"We're all lost, I'm lost," Deherrera said. "I don't know what to do."

But she does have a message for the driver who police said ran the red light.

"They need to understand that what they did was wrong, and they took a life," she said. "They took a father. They took a son, a brother, a cousin, a grandson. They affected a lot of people's lives by their stupidity."

Police have not released the driver's name, or filed any charges. They said Thursday detectives are still investigating the crash.

A memorial now stands at the site where Ortega was hit. Family and friends have gathered there, as well as at his home, as they process what happened and figure out how to keep carrying on.

Ortega's family said they need help with funeral expenses as they cope with his loss and move forward. They've set up a GoFundMe account for donations.