MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the first time, the mother of two of the children involved in a deadly accident in a St. Louis Park retention pond is speaking out.
Shaniece Thompson is the mother of 5-year-old Zenavia Rennie and 6-year-old Zarihana Rennie.
They were among the five children inside the car that was submerged for at least 25 minutes on Thursday morning.
The driver, Marion Guerrido, had three of her own kids in the car, along with Thompson’s children, when she lost control near Highway 100 and Highway 7, crashing in to a pond.
“I’m kind of up and down,” Thompson said.
For her and her family, the last three days have been a mix of hope and despair.
“My body is numb because, it’s like, you hear, ‘Oh, I’m sorry for your loss … congrats on a new baby,'” she said.
As she welcomes a new baby after premature labor, she also can’t help but think about two of her other children.
“I don’t know. I’m just trying to breathe through out every second that I walk through this hospital, and I just know. I look at pictures in my phone and I’m just like, ‘This really cannot be happening right now,'” she said.
Like so many in the Twin Cities, Thompson and her mother, Capri Bronson, first heard about the crash on the news.
“I followed it, because there were kids involved, you know, not knowing that this story that I’m watching is involving two of my grandchildren,” Bronson said.
Hours later, mother and daughter learned that the accident involved their family, but it was too late for one young life.
“I could have been there to let them know ‘I’m here,’ you know. We fight for each other, you know. So maybe, if she heard my voice or something she would have, you know, fought harder or something different could have came out,” Thompson said.
Five-year-old Zenavia, the last to be pulled from the freezing water, left this world without her mother by her side.
“I didn’t get to see her wake up that morning. I wasn’t there. I didn’t even get to say, really, goodbye,” She said. “She was gone when I made it to her.”
It’s the reason why Thompson refuses to leave the hospital where 6-year-old Zarihana remains in critical condition.
“She’s strong. She’s fighting, so I’m just hoping she continues to fight and just know I’m fighting with her as much as I can,” she said.
Part of that fight is now in getting answers from the driver, 23-year-old Marion Guerrido, who is dating Zarihana and Zenavia’s father. Shaniece’s family has many questions about the accident.
“I’m angry about the fact she was driving without a license. I’m angry at the fact she put all those kids in a small car,” Thompson said.
While both Thompson and Bronson know that while answers won’t take away the grief and loss, they may provide comfort.
“I want her to tell me what happened. She’s the one who witnessed my children’s last breath,” she said. “I would like to know really what happened.”
Two of Guerrido’s own children also remain in the hospital, but her seven-year-old boy also died.
A fund has been set up at Thompson’s work place to help her family.
If you’d like to contribute, donations are being accepted at ShopJimmy’s Burnsville location.
Click here to contribute to the Coleman-Guerrido Rennie Children’s Fund.