Family mourns toddler girl killed in DUI-related I-40 crash

Around the South

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The family of a little girl is mourning her loss after the toddler died after an early morning car crash Friday.

Knoxville police are calling the crash DUI-related. 

The Pontiac Grand-Am 2-year-old Zyliya Irvin was riding in was driving erratically westbound on I-40 west when the driver lost control, police said.

The car crossed from the left lane over two lanes to the right and off the road and into some trees, according to Knoxville Police.

The car was being driven by Joevon Deltroy Foust, 26, and another passenger in the car was Jasmine Irvin, 26, police said. Both are from Knoxville and had non-life threatening injuries. 

Zyliya Irvin was in a child restraint in the back seat, but it was not properly fastened to the car and she, as well as the two adults, were ejected from the Pontiac, police said. 

Zyliya’s grandmother said she is devastated by her loss.

“It’s a total nightmare. We miss her so much. We miss her so much. The sound of her voice, her arms around my neck,” Donessa Irvin said. 

Donessa is now wondering how she’ll make it through. The loss of her only grandchild has been heartbreaking.

“We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, and asked God to please bring our baby back to us. But I guess he wants her for Himself,” she said.

Zyliya Irvin was full of life, her grandma says, with a smile that would light up a room. 

“They pronounced her dead yesterday,” said Donessa on Monday. “And then they came to talk to us today and we made the decision to let her be an organ donor, because I would rather pieces of her walk around and knowing that we’re helping another family not ever have to go through what we’ve been through.”

Knoxville police saying Zyliya died from the injuries she sustained in the crash. KPD calling it DUI-related. 

Donessa Irvin wouldn’t elaborate, but made her message clear:

“Don’t drink and drive. For God’s sake. If somebody would have sit and told me last Monday when my baby was at my house, and we were playing, and doing all these things that this is where I would be sitting today, this Monday, there would have been no way.”

The grandmother is holding on to the happy memories and promising to never forget her grandbaby.

“I want the world to know what a beautiful, beautiful spirit my baby was,” she said.

Police say Joevon Foust was driving the car when the crash happened. Jasmine Irvin was in the passenger seat.

Both were injured in the crash, and police tell us charges are pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sponsored Content
Visit Buy Local

Trending Stories