‘My world was gone’: Family left reeling after deadly DUI crash


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — De’Juana Byrd was a hairdresser with big dreams, a promising life ahead of her and a younger sister who thought the world of her.

“She encouraged me to do a lot of things. I seen her go to college, so I wanted to go to college,” Clorana Neal, Byrd’s sister, told FOX40.

But last Saturday, Neal’s life was turned upside down.

Byrd and her friend Raquel Hudson were coming home from a night out, traveling on Arden Garden near Northgate Boulevard, when they were both killed in a crash.

“I got a call on Saturday and it just … the world was gone,” Neal said.

Byrd’s mother, Azure Brewer lives only a few minutes away from where the crash happened.

“It was crazy. I didn’t get to say goodbye or I love you one more time,” Brewer said. “I didn’t get to finish none of that.”

Balloons and candles continued to pile up at the scene a week after the crash, as friends and family continued to mourn the loss.

Friday, they learned investigators had arrested 29-year-old Ricardo Beltram in connection with the crash.

Beltram was booked into jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.

This is Beltram’s third DUI arrest. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2010 and in 2016.

While Byrd’s family tries to pick up the pieces without her, they hope the man responsible understands just how much pain he’s caused them.

“You should know that you took two beautiful lives,” Neal said. “Not only did you take one, but you took two in a matter of a second.”

“It makes me live and think life different now because you don’t have that time to say, ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’ or ‘I’ll call you back,’” Brewer said.

Byrd’s loved ones have launched a GoFundMe campaign for funeral expenses.

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