LUBBOCK, TX-- A car and bike show benefit was held in Anton on Saturday for Ava Lucia McWhirter and Patricia Mendez who were killed in a head-on car collision on July 14.
8-year-old Ava and her grandmother Patricia, 62, were driving on Highway 84 when a car crashed into them and erupted in flames.
DPS said an SUV driven by Jeffrey Howard, 51, of Wolfforth hit Mendez’ passenger car head-on. People had been calling 9-1-1 for roughly 20 minutes before the crash saying Howard was driving on the wrong side of the road. A Shallowater officer was rushing toward Howard’s SUV but could not catch up in time before the crash.
On Saturday Big Mike's Bikes hosted a benefit car and bike show for the family.
"The community, you know, the South Plains in general has just been so, so supporting and so great," said father of Ava, David McWhirter. "The love that they have given us, we use that to kind of get through every day, you know, it's a healing process. And we will never be whole, but we can heal."
Michael Galvan said he was motivated to help coordinate the event after his son met and played with Ava on the 4th of July.
"It just touched me really close," said Galvan. "We were at the lake, they hung out together and they both just played together and when this happened it's just heartbreaking for me."
All car and bike entries for the show were donated to the McWhirter and Mendez family.
"And none of us will ever be alone because you know if anyone ever needs anything we would love to do the same to give back," said Alejandra McWhirter, Ava's mother and Patricia Mendez's daughter.
Ava's family and school partnered together to start a scholarship fund and a fund for funeral expenses. Donations can be made at Citizens State Bank in Anton and Wells Fargo locations in Lubbock, under McWhirter-Mendez fund.