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Family in ‘shock’ after Bee delivery driver and wife killed by alleged drunk driver

Fresno Bee carrier and wife killed in alleged DUI crash

Trucks remove the mangled remains of two cars involved in a suspected DUI crash early Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in southeast Fresno that killed a Fresno Bee carrier and his wife. Police said the suspect, who was hospitalized with injuries, will be ch
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Trucks remove the mangled remains of two cars involved in a suspected DUI crash early Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in southeast Fresno that killed a Fresno Bee carrier and his wife. Police said the suspect, who was hospitalized with injuries, will be ch

A day after her parents were killed by an alleged drunk driver, Jasmine Mendez was reeling from the tragedy coming just a few weeks before Christmas.

“To be honest it’s still a shock that they’re gone,” the 32-year-old said Sunday.

Daniel Mendez Sr., 53, and Ramona Mendez, 43, were delivering The Fresno Bee in southeast Fresno early Saturday when they were killed after a vehicle driven by an alleged drunk driver slammed into their car.

Michael Robert Merritt-Hutchins, 25, was arrested and charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of driving while intoxicated and causing injury or death and two counts of driving under the influence with .08 percent blood-alcohol level causing an injury or death.

Jasmine Mendez, who is Ramona Mendez’s stepdaughter, said she and her siblings, Sarah Casas, 24, and Daniel Mendez Jr., 16, broke down when they saw a photo of their parents on a local news report Saturday evening.

“It’s such a tragedy that this has happened right before Christmas,” Jasmine Mendez said.

Daniel Mendez was an independent contractor with 365 Media Distributing for about seven years, owner Jeff Farmer said Saturday.

Ramona Mendez was not an independent contractor with the company. She recently started going with her husband on his routes so they could spend time together due to their conflicting work schedules, Jasmine Mendez said.

She said her parents were both dedicated to their jobs and loved what they did. When they weren’t at work, they would be home enjoying time with their kids on weekends and watching their favorite sports teams like the Detroit Lions.

“Our dad loved to travel,” said Jasmine Mendez, adding that his favorite destination was Pismo Beach.

Her mother was outgoing and full of life. “I can still hear her laughing,” Jasmine Mendez said. “She was always there to give a helping hand.”

Jasmine Mendez said they will always remember their good hearts and their father’s great advice. “They never stopped pushing us to achieve our goals and for that we will remain strong,” she said.

She added that she and her siblings are “really needing the word of God today” after attending a noon service at Cornerstone Church.

“This has been so hard for us to bear, but me and my sister are trying to stay strong for our little brother,” Jasmine Mendez said. “We will join together to give our brother the best life possible, as my parents would have wanted.”

Funeral arrangements are pending. The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.

Jail log records showed Merritt-Hutchins remained in custody Monday afternoon.

Jessica Johnson: 559-441-6051, @iamjesslj

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