What would have been a magical night for a North Carolina family visiting New York City became a tragic one when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver in New Jersey.
Ciara Gee, 20, her dad, Jerry Gee, brother Jerry Gee V and a family friend were 10 miles away from their destination when they were rear-ended by Sergio Seixeiro, 40, on Route 9 in Middlesex County July 18, authorities said.
Ciara was pronounced dead at the scene while her dad was hospitalized with a broken vertebrae, broken ribs, a gash the head requiring stitches and a torn aorta, according to a GoFundMe page for the family.
"A night of inspiration ended in tragedy," reads the campaign, launched by Kenia Marcelino.
Seixeiro, of Monroe, was jailed on charges of vehicular homicide and three counts of assault by auto, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
More than $5,300 had been raised for the Gee family on the GoFundMe as of July 28.
Ciara was a junior at North Carolina Central University, pursuing her dreams of becoming a physical therapist.
"A native of Raleigh N.C., Ciara was known to be a positive influence on campus who kept her peers and friends uplifted with laughter and encouragement to pursue their academic goals," the university said in a statement.
"Studying toward a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in sports medicine, Ciara was dedicated to staying on track to one day reach her ultimate goal of becoming a physical therapist."
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