Family begs for justice after young mother killed

March 07, 2014 at 9:06 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Romishe Mejia-Fequier (left) poses with her sister, Rossyni. Mejia-Fequier, along with three other people, was killed when a drunk driver crashed into her car.
Romishe Mejia-Fequier (left) poses with her sister, Rossyni. Mejia-Fequier, along with three other people, was killed when a drunk driver crashed into her car.
Family and friends gathered on Sunday to celebrate the first birthday of Jade Mejia-Fequier, but it was a solemn occasion because one important person was missing.

Jade’s mother, 23-year-old Romishe Mejia-Fequier of Harvey, was killed last May after a drunk driver crossed a raised median on Airline Highway in St. Charles Parish and crashed head-on into the Honda Civic she was driving.

Esther Centeno, who was pregnant and was riding with Mejia-Fequier, was also killed in the crash, as was the passenger in the car that crashed into the two women, Joshua Jones.Jennifer Englade, 41, of LaPlace, caused the crash and was nearly twice over the legal alcohol limit, according to state police. She has been ruled unfit to stand trial for now despite the fact that she had been convicted of three prior DWIs.

It was recommended that Englade be placed in the Louisiana Mental Health System to restore competency to stand trial.However, the family says the wait for justice has been excruciating.

“I need her, her baby girl needs her, we all need her,” Mejia-Fequier’s parents, Robert and Ariana, wrote in a letter to  St. Charles Parish Judge Emile St. Pierre, who is presiding over the case. “Sadly, I cannot tell her those things because of the careless and irresponsible actions of Jennifer Englade.”

Marcia Gomez, a family friend, said that the last week was very difficult for the family. Not only did they gather for Jade’s birthday, but Mejia-Fequier’s birthday was on Feb. 28 and she was not there to celebrate it.

“The family is really dealing with a lot,” she said. “Holidays were extremely tough for them and they really wanted this birthday for Jade to be special. Everyone attended with heavy hearts but we all wore our smiles that day. That is what Romi would have wanted. She was always in high spirits... always smiling and happy to be around the people she loved.”

Rossyni Mejia, Mejia-Fequier’s sister, said the traumatic event has taken its toll on the family for the last year.

“My best friend is gone and she’s never coming back,” she said. “I will never hear her infectious laughter echo throughout our home. How do I describe to my niece the effect that her mother’s presence had in our lives? How do I describe the ability she had to uplift the spirits of everyone in our home?

“She was radiant, optimistic and cheerful. She was always smiling as though she had no reason not to.”

Family members were incensed after Englade, the person police say was responsible for Mejia-Fequier’s death, wrote a letter to St. Pierre begging him not to throw her life away. Englade told the judge that she had a rough life and that she has been an addict since she was 17.

“Please don’t take my life away from me. I have had a rough life, from growing up to losing loved ones,” she wrote. “When I was 11 my mom was hit by a car and killed. My grandparents that raised me died.”

Englade added that she would do anything to turn back time to before the fatal crash and that being in prison has scared her.

“I’m really not a bad person,” she wrote. “I’ve never done any time in jail before. I’m very scared!”

Mejia-Fequier’s parents said that Englade’s letter made them sick to their stomachs when they read it.

“On top of everything that this woman has already done, her letter was a devastating blow and insult to injury to my family and those of the other victims as well. It horrifies me to know that not once does she indicate she understands the pain and suffering she has caused,” Robert said. “Does she comprehend that she just robbed my daughter of her chance at motherhood at the same time that she just voluntarily threw hers away? Yet she pleas for another chance at life.”

Before leaving on that tragic night, Mejia-Fequier told her mother to save her a plate of her favorite food. Ariana Mejia said she kept that plate for as long as she could, hoping that her daughter’s death was a terrible nightmare.

“I needed her to know that I had not forgotten her. I needed her to know that I am still waiting for her, so I kept the plate there in my refrigerator for the longest time until recently when I had to force myself to throw it away,” Ariana said. “The harsh truth is that my daughter is never coming home. She is dead and we mourn her death immensely and ardently every day for the way she was taken from us.”

Englade is charged with three counts of vehicular homicide, one count of third-degree feticide and one count of vehicular negligent injuring. 

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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Sheriff's Office investigating Destrehan homicide
Sheriff's Office investigating Destrehan homicide
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating a homicide in Destrehan today (Nov. 19).

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