On Dec. 21, Dale Trichell said he saw the road signs on Interstate 75 alerting him to a fatal wreck at the exit he takes to go home. Little did he know at the time, it was his wife, Maria Tabuena, 29, and their 3-year-old daughter Melina Trichell, who were killed in a hit-and-run crash involving a tractor-trailer.
"Nothing can bring them back, it would help (finding the driver), I don't know how it would help, or why it would make me feel better just knowing this guy actually cared about what he did," Dale Trichell said. "I hope he regrets it and is sorry. I just can't imagine somebody doing something like that, and acting like they don't care."
The mother and daughter were just about to exit to go home when the tractor-trailer sideswiped their Ford Expedition, forcing them off the road.
According to Georgia State Patrol, the tractor-trailer hit the mother and daughter near Exit 293 on I-75 and continued traveling northbound.
The incident report shows that the semi swerved from the center lane into the right lane. Tabuena's car was clipped and she lost control, driving off the road. After colliding with an overhead sign support post the vehicle burst into flames.
"We had just bought this house, and I didn't even get a chance to stay in the house with her," Dale Trichell said.
Dale Trichell and Tabuena had been married for two years. He is now raising his wife's 7-year-old son from a previous relationship.
"We just told him they were in heaven and they are waiting on us," Dale Trichell said.
Since the accident, Dale Trichell said he has gotten a lot of support from family and friends and wants to thank them for helping him through this difficult time. His wife has five sisters that live in the Philippines.
"I am talking to everyone in the Philippines, and I have people calling me every day from everyone who knew her and loved her, everybody she met, they loved her right off the bat."
According to troopers, the trailer is described as a late 90s "long nose" Peterbilt tractor-trailer. The tractor was maroon in color, with orange or tan fenders and it was extremely dirty. The trailer tag was located on the left side of the DOT bars. There were red stripes on the rear door and two were running long ways. The driver was pulling a silver refrigerated trailer that has damage on the right side from the impact.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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