Moms

Fort Worth sisters killed in collision were inseparable, neighbors say

FORT WORTH -- Four-year-old Breanna Muniz was a bicycle wiz on the sidewalks of East Spurgeon Street, as her 2-year-old sister, Deanna Mata, scampered nearby.

They were inseparable, neighbors said Sunday, and many times Breanna would hold Deanna's hand as they walked down the sidewalk to play with other children.

The young sisters smiled all the time, ready to eat macaroni and cheese at a moment's notice, said the neighbors who sometimes watched them.

"These were just two happy young girls," said Audrey McPhate whose daughter Ashley, 17, baby-sat them at times. "They would always run into Ashley's arms."

There were no smiles Sunday.

Funeral plans were under way for the two sisters, who were killed early Saturday in what police called a wreck caused by drunken drivers. Breanna was ejected from a car, and Deanna was not properly secured in a car seat, Fort Worth police said in a news release.

Breanna and Deanna were passengers in a 1999 Ford Taurus driven by David Whitworth, 18, of Fort Worth, who police say was driving drunk. Whitworth; the girl's mother, Erika Leija, 19; and 37-year-old Arturo P. Siller were critically injured in the wreck and taken to Fort Worth hospitals. Their conditions were unavailable Sunday.

The Taurus collided with a 2007 Dodge pickup driven by Jared Allen Clark, 20, of Crowley. Clark is also accused of driving while intoxicated, and he was critically injured.

Clark and Whitworth have been arrested in the case, according to Fort Worth police reports. Clark will likely face two charges of intoxication manslaughter and three charges of intoxication assault, the reports state.

Whitworth will likely face a charge of driving while intoxicated with a child under age 15, reports state.

The two men have no criminal history as adults, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

The wreck happened about 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the 2600 block of Mitchell Boulevard at Martin Luther King Freeway.

Whitworth was driving east on Mitchell Boulevard while Clark was northbound on a freeway service road, police said. Police did not release information on where Whitworth and his passengers were headed.

The pickup had a stop sign at the intersection, but police had not determined whether he stopped.

The vehicles collided at the intersection, according to police reports. Breanna was taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, where she died a few hours later.

Deanna was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner's Web site.

On Sunday afternoon, relatives kept a vigil for the girls' mother at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

"I'm just baby-sitting right now. The family is at the hospital," said a man who answered the telephone at the family's home in Fort Worth.

Ashley McPhate said Leija kept her girls close to her, especially on shopping trips for dresses.

"She was always trying to buy them something," Ashley McPhate said Sunday. "She so loved them."

DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR., 817-390-7763

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