Family mourns Utah mother of 3 killed in crash in Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- A family is remembering a mother of three killed in a crash in Saratoga Springs that injured several people.

Jacquie Penaloza’s family is reeling from her death, while her mother and kids recover from their injuries in the hospital.

Stefany Sanchez said the 28-year old mother had three young children, with the youngest being 3 and the oldest being 10 years old.

“She loved her kids,” Sanchez said. “Her kids, they were everything to her.”

On Saturday, Sanchez said she, her mother, Penaloza and Penaloza’s children had spent the day together a day ahead of Mother’s Day.

While driving back from an event Saturday night, Sanchez said she turned left on a green arrow at Pioneer Crossing in Saratoga Springs, but her sister noticed a car coming the other way.

“[Jacquie] started screaming, and then when I looked it was too late,” Sanchez recounted.

The car crashed into them, leaving their mother and Penaloza’s children with injuries including broken bones.

“It wasn't until I saw them put the sheet over her, that I realized she was gone,” Sanchez said, of her sister. “I was like, ‘You can’t go! I’m not going to let you.’”

Penaloza’s mother was still hospitalized Thursday evening, Sanchez said with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Penaloza’s youngest child, her 3-year old daughter, suffered broken bones in both legs and her arm, and severed fingers.

As they look at Penaloza’s life, family and friends say they’ll remember Jacquie for her jokester personality, her entrepreneurial spirit and her inspiration in the Latin community.

“She always found a way to love anyone she met, and everyone she met,” Sanchez said. “She got herself involved in anything and everything that she could.”

Penaloza’s close friend Rosa Sylleloglou said they talked nearly every day as they ran their home business together. She said Penaloza would share her dreams, and her love for her husband and children.

“She wanted to make a difference a people's lives,” Sylleloglou said. “Not just in herself for her family, but in the community.”

Jacquie often posted videos and photos on Facebook, and Sylleloglou shared YouTube videos they made together for their business.

Sanchez said her sister was known for posting Facebook Live videos.

“She wanted to vlog her entire life, and so she started doing it with Facebook,” Sanchez explained.

Just a few days before Sanchez died, she posted a picture and tribute for Mother’s Day in Spanish.

Sanchez read the translation: “Being a mom means that your heart isn't yours. That your heart is… where your kids are.”

Community members have come together to host fundraising events for Penaloza’s family. On Saturday, a makeup artist is offering professional makeup applications for $25 donations from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Also on Saturday, an assortment of food will be sold at 898 W Big Mountain Drive in Taylorsville beginning at 2 p.m.

Ambrosio's Barber Shop is hosting a Tacos & Aguas Frescas memorial fundraiser on Sunday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 58 W 3300 S in South Salt Lake.

On May 26, a Zumbathon will honor Jacquie and raise funds from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 615 W 9400 S #101 in Sandy. Food will be sold from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help the family with funeral costs and medical bills.