Denetric Greathouse could not drive through Dorchester on Thanksgiving without stopping on Olney Street to say a prayer. So she took a detour on her way to her mother’s house to pause in front of the sidewalk memorial for 7-year-old Brianna Rosales, who was killed Tuesday when she and her mother were hit by an allegedly drunken driver while walking home from school.
“I’m gonna go home to my family, and this lady will not be able to bring her daughter home,” Greathouse said. “I will not be able to pass by this street and not pay my condolences, and pour my heart out at this rest stop right here. This is her last resting place.”
The little girl’s mother, 26-year-old Glendalee Alvarado, remained in critical condition Thursday at Boston Medical Center, according to authorities.
Olivia Mora, 36, who police say was driving the sport utility vehicle that struck Rosales and Alvarado, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Dorchester District Court to charges of motor vehicle homicide and causing bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Mora, a convicted felon living in Dorchester, was ordered held without bail.
By Thursday, the sidewalk where Rosales and Alvarado were hit had been turned into a small shrine: stuffed animals, flowers, and prayer candles were piled around a light post, where a pink Christmas stocking hung. Cars slowed and pedestrians stopped as they passed the site, many bowing their heads.
“This is devastating for Dorchester. I think this is something we’re going to remember forever,” Greathouse said.
According to authorities, Mora hit a parked car and then her SUV jumped the curb onto the sidewalk, hitting a fire hydrant, and then the mother and daughter, before plowing through a chain-link fence onto the front lawn of a home. The fire hydrant remained toppled on the pavement Thursday, the fence lay tangled in the dirt, and the deep ruts the tires left in the grass had filled with leaves.
“It’s so close to home,” said 42-year-old Maria Goncalves, who stood silently for about a minute in front of the memorial before heading into her mother’s house a few doors away for Thanksgiving.
With Holland Elementary School just down the street, Goncalves said, the sidewalks are always teeming with children in the early afternoon.
“I just hope [Mora] gets everything that comes to her, because driving drunk? Especially at 2 o’clock in the afternoon? It’s just crazy,” she said. “It could have been my niece.”
It was a sentiment echoed by others who stopped.
“It’s especially scary because I have a son,” said Jessica Cardoso, 22, who lives next door to where the accident happened. She and her 3-year-old left a teddy bear at the site, she said.
Greathouse said she hopes officials install traffic lights at either end of the street. And she hopes, she said, that Alvarado knows people are thinking of her.
“I don’t even think that my family will be able to sit down to eat without keeping them in my prayers, and give them some of our strength,” she said. “If they don’t have enough, they can take some of mine.”