12-Year-Old Girl Crashes Car, Dies—Adult Passenger Seriously Injured

Police are investigating why 12-year-old Josseline Molina-Rivas was driving when she died in a car accident in Maryland on July 24.

The crash happened in the Columbia area at about 2:08 a.m., involving only the 2017 Toyota Corolla that the child was driving. Her stepfather was also in the car and he was seriously injured.

The car was traveling southbound on Broken Land Parkway just south of Cradlerock Way when it left the road for an unknown reason and struck a tree, according to a Howard County Police statement.

"Police tracked down the registered owner of the Toyota and determined that both the driver and passenger lived in the same apartment on Basket Ring Road in Columbia with numerous family members and residents," the press release said.

The 36-year-old stepfather, Mario Arturo-Artiga, was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center after the crash and he remains in a serious condition.

"Police believe speed was a factor in the crash. They are also investigating whether either occupant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs."

The family said they are "mystified" as to why Molina-Rivas was behind the wheel at that time, according to WUSA9. They also said that her stepfather is in a coma and currently unable to speak.

"Police say she was driving, and we can't accept that," Molina-Rivas's uncle, Pablo Aaron, said. "She was with her stepfather and I don't know what happened. We didn't know why she was driving.

"She was friendly, funny, very funny and very smart. I can't accept i'll never see her again."

Police spokesperson Sherry Llwellyn also highlighted the oddity of the incident.

"This is particularly unusual because of the girl's age and also because it was two o'clock in the morning," she said.

"So we have a lot of investigation to do to determine all the details around this incident."

Since the incident, the family has created a GoFundMe page in order to pay for the funeral costs.

"Josseline was young and with a full life ahead of her. She was in the 5th Grade. She enjoyed dancing and playing with her baby cousins," the page said.

"We are all devastated by Josseline's loss and were not prepared for the high cost of a funeral service.

"We want to give Josseline the memorial she deserves, to honor her memory and say our last goodbyes.

"I am currently asking for donations to help cover the cost of Josseline's funeral. We need to raise 20,000 by July 27th in order to be able to afford the funeral service.

"Any contributions would be greatly appreciated and help her mother to put her only child to rest."

Newsweek has contacted the Howard County Police Department for comment.

Police Tape
A file photo of police tape. The Howard County Police Department is investigating why 12-year-old Josseline Molina-Rivas was driving when she died in a car crash. Getty