Pregnant Medford Woman Killed In Cabana Crash In Florida
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS) – A Medford woman, who was seven months pregnant, was killed in a horrific accident in Florida on Sunday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Alanna Masterson DeMella and her husband Michael were staying at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale when a car crashed into the poolside cabana around 1:30 p.m.
Alanna was using a bathroom when a 2006 Audi sedan struck a curb, went over the sidewalk and smashed through the side of the building, pinning her.
A specially trained rescue unit had to cut through the building and the car but they were unable to save her or her child.
Witnesses say her husband appeared to be in severe shock. He was treated at a hospital for minor injuries and later released.
Masterson DeMella was a third grade teacher’s assistant at the Peirce Elementary School in Arlington.
On her Twitter page she described herself as “a wife, teacher and follower of Jesus.”
Pastor Michael Davis of Genesis says Alanna had applied for the trip by writing an essay on why it would be a blessing for their marriage. He says Alanna wrote that she was so excited about her marriage and about being a new mom, and she hoped for one last vacation before her son came.
“If you asked her what she was most excited about in life, it was to be a Mom and to experience that with Michael,” Davis says.
“She was so excited about her marriage and excited about Mike and wanted Mike to be part of this conference,” said Pastor Michael Davis of Genesis. “They wanted to have one last vacation before their son came.”
The couple decided to stay an extra day in Florida and checked into the Riverside Hotel.
“They went into this cabana at the same time. They were not in there for more than two to three minutes, and then there was a big crash, a big noise. He didn’t know exactly what had happened,” said Davis.
“He just couldn’t get to his wife in time and just knew she was gone,” said Davis.
Pastor Davis says he is doing all he can to support Mike as he returns home. “They’ve had baby showers, baby gifts, baby clothing. He’s going to come to a house that is ready to embrace a new family member. The pain of walking into a house without his best friend,” Pastor Davis pauses with tears in his eyes, “Is going to be devastating.”
Fort Lauderdale Police said Monday the driver, 34-year-old Rosa Rivera Kim of Plantation, Florida, was in stable condition at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
No charges have been filed at this point in the investigation.
However, Arlington’s School Superintendent sent a letter to parents Monday informing them of DeMella’s death and noted that she was “killed by a drunk driver.”
That statement was later revised to say DeMella “was killed when the building she was in was hit by a out-of-control automobile.” Police would not comment on that, saying only they are waiting for toxicology test results.
Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Travis Mandell told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Monday they are pursuing all leads.
“Anything’s possible at this time,” he said.
“This is an absolute tragedy. You’ve got a family who lost a wife and an unborn child. You have family up in Massachusetts who are never going to see their daughter again. I mean, you have a husband who’s flying home alone without his wife and his unborn child.
“We are going to leave no stone unturned in this, and we’re going to conduct as thorough an investigation as possible to get to the bottom of this, and find out what happened and the events leading up to it,” said Mandell.
Witnesses described the scene to our affiliate, CBSMiami.com.
“It was shocking, just sitting there minding your own business and one almighty bang,” hotel guest Joanne Gordon said.
She and her husband rushed to help when the car came crashing into the building. They said DeMella’s husband Michael came out of the men’s room, just feet away from his wife.
“He was just saying my wife’s in there, why did this happen, why did this happen?” said witness Darren Gordon.
“He was just (in) complete shock, he was white,” added Joanne.
The Gordons said Michael DeMella mentioned they were getting ready to head back home to Boston.
The Gordons and other hotel guests tried to reach Alanna.
“We all converged trying to rip some of the debris apart to get to the woman. I think it was too late,” Darren Gordon said.
Mike Riemondi took her pulse and told CBS Miami he believes she was killed instantly.
“I went and smashed the door, top of the door and she was laying there dead,” said Riemondi.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.