After 2 young moms die in wrong way crash, family pleads: ‘Just don’t drink and drive’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two young mothers are dead after police say they were hit head on by a wrong-way driver.

It happened early Sunday morning when 22-year-old Dedra Cox and 21-year-old Kiara Clark were driving home from a birthday party. Police said the wrong-way driver went into the women’s lane and is now under investigation for driving under the influence.

Dedra’s godmother, Shay Celedon, said the girls were inseparable. 

“Kiki and Dedra, they were each other’s shadow. Where one went the other one went. They were always together. They were the life of the party together,” Celedon said.

Celedon saod when she got the call Dedra was gone, she couldn’t believe it. She said it still doesn’t feel real.

“I want my baby back. That’s all. I wasn’t ready for her to go,” Celedon said. “I wasn’t ready for my baby to leave. I just want her to call and say this is a joke. The joke’s over. I just want my baby back. That’s it.”

“It’s my sister, and it’s Kiki that I’m going to miss,” Dedra’s sister Keori Whitley said. “I’m going to miss the phone calls with Kiki, and I’m going to miss calling on my sister. My sister was there anytime I called. Anytime I needed her to be there she was going to be there. “

Celedon said two years ago Dedra was hit by a drunk driver in a separate crash and spent three days in the hospital. The 22-year-old never drove after drinking and always had a fear she would be hit by a drunk driver.

Two months ago Dedra gave birth to her second child, Odin Leal, with her partner Brial Leal. 

“I’m trying my hardest to be strong. Dedra told me to always be strong and never fold. She was there when I almost lost my mom,” Leal said.

Leal’s mother nearly died from COVID-19 in April. He said Dedra helped the family get through it, and now he wishes she were still here, so he could help her in return.

“Everything you would want a mother to do for her kids, she would do it. She was always there for her kids,” Leal said. “Just don’t drink and drive.”

Police said they’re not yet able to interview the driver, who is in the hospital, but they will as soon as they can.

Dedra’s family set up a memorial fund to help pay for funeral costs, and needs for the children.

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