Family says B.C. mother killed in parking lot rampage put son's life ahead of hers
In every photo in her celebration of life album, Kelly Sandoval is hard to miss.
“It’s her beautiful smile,” said her mother Jennifer Tayes. “It lights up a room and I miss that smile so much.”
Almost one year since lost her daughter, Jennifer Tayes is happy a suspect has been charged in connection with a rampage that turned deadly.
“I don’t have the energy to be angry. I’m very glad that it’s finally happened.”
Travis James Pare, 35, of Mission is accused of unleashing a path of destruction in Maple Ridge while he was high on drugs on Feb. 1, 2018.
On that date, Kelly Sandoval and her two youngest sons dodged an erratic driver in a parking lot in the 23900-block of Dewdney Trunk Road.
Pare allegedly backed his pickup truck into a parked vehicle, blasted through a McDonald’s drive-thru, crashed into a fence and hit a bus shelter, striking two pedestrians before coming to a stop.
Sandoval’s 10-year-old son jumped out of the way but the mother threw herself in harm’s way to protect her youngest son.
WATCH: (Aired: Dec. 27, 2018) Mother of rampage driver speaks out
“Her five-year-old son was in the path and she pushed him out of the way and the truck pinned her up against a fence,” said Tayes.
“Her instincts just saved my baby and I am so proud of her, but it’s what I would have expected of Kelly. She would do anything for any one of her boys. That just proved it.”
A coroner’s report reveals the 35-year-old mother of four was discharged from Royal Columbian Hospital with crutches after being diagnosed with a forehead laceration and soft tissue injuries to her right thigh.
“At first they said it was non-life threatening injuries,” said Tayes.
“I guess you can never tell what really is life threatening.”
In the weeks that followed the crash, Sandoval was admitted to Abbotsford Regional Hospital for various complications – including pain and swelling, blood clots and a bacterial infection.
While recovering from surgery to clean the abscess in her right thigh injury, Sandoval fainted twice and became unresponsive in the early hours of March 19, 2018, triggering a code blue at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.
WATCH: (Oct. 18, 2018) Dozens of tires slashed in two cities
Coroner Lucy Pridgeon wrote that “despite immediate and aggressive resuscitation efforts, Ms. Sandoval could not be revived.” She was pronounced dead less than one hour later.
A post-mortem examination revealed Sandoval had numerous blood clots throughout both lungs. Her cause of death was attributed to “multiple complications of blunt force trauma due to a motor vehicle incident.”
“She paid for it in the end with her life, but to her I’m sure it was worth it to have her son safe,” said Tayes.
On Feb. 8, 2019, Pare was charged with two counts of failing to stop at an accident, criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving causing death.
According to the coroner’s report, a mechanical inspection found the truck had no defects that could have caused the collision and Pridgeon stated that “the RCMP report their investigation revealed the driver of the truck was intoxicated due to the use of the illicit drugs at the time of the incident.”
Sandoval’s widow, Eddie, is now struggling to raise the couple’s four boys on his own.
“He lost his whole life,” said Tayes.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the single father, who runs a landscaping business, with childcare and mortgage payments.
Tayes says Eddie Sandoval has taken up painting as part of the healing process. His therapeutic art often highlights Mexico, where he and Kelly met — and planned to return one day.
“I can hear her saying Mom, you got to keep going. Mom, I need you to be strong for Eddie. Mom, I need you to be there for the boys,” said Tayes.