Family and friends set up an impromptu memorial Wednesday outside a west Miami-Dade beauty salon where two people died when an elderly man crashed his vehicle into the storefront.
The two dead included, Celeste Gaitan, the owner of the salon who was almost 6 months pregnant.
“She was a very good mom, very good daughter and a great friend, and I am going to miss her dearly,” said Gaitan’s friend Mari Fraga. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I was going to come here and leave flowers and a candle for her.”
About 20 people milled around the memorial, which consisted of flowers, candles, cards and letters. People from neighboring businesses walked over to the memorial to pay their respects.
“She was just a good person, outgoing, always happy, even when she was mad she would show you happiness,” said Jose Agrena, Gaitan’s friend.
Police said the driver, Pedro Ruiz, accidentally hit the accelerator of his SUV, sending the vehicle barreling into the storefront of Celeste & Co. Boutique on Bird Rd. and SW 134 Ave. around noon Tuesday.
Gaitan was transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center, where doctors tried to save her unborn child but efforts were unsuccessful.
The other victim, Laymet Albelo, a customer of the salon in her late 20s, was killed instantly.
Police said the elderly man suffered minor injuries and a female passenger was unharmed.