“She always kept God first”: Older brother of woman killed in car accident shares her story

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “She would want to meet the person that caused it. She would want to tell them about Jesus, and she would at the end of that tell them that she forgives them,” said Thaddius Valeika, Mercedes Luna’s older brother.

Mercedes Luna was killed in a hit-and-run accident last Friday, May 7. She was 21-years-old and Valeika said she would have forgiven the driver who caused this accident.

“Mercedes never wanted to be famous, but I want at least part of her story to be told,” Valeika said. “There wasn’t anybody on earth that didn’t like her. It didn’t matter what was going on. She always kept God first.”

Mercedes got married about nine months ago to Josh Luna.

“Him and Mercedes are basically like two peas in a pod. Perfect. Perfect for each other,” Valeika said. “He’s like, ‘it doesn’t change anything even if they catch the person that did it.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t think I would want him to drive again.’ But he’s like, ‘I definitely wouldn’t want their life to be ruined.'”

Valeika shared some of his favorite memories of his sisters, Mercedes and Ariel.

“We started doing this picture where I’m sitting by the Christmas tree, and both of them would kiss me on the cheek,” said Valeika. “This year, it’ll be hard. But her husband made a comment and said, ‘well, I guess I’m going to have to kiss the other cheek,'”

Mercedes was supposed to graduate Drury this Friday, May 14, with a teaching job lined up.

“She loved kids, Loved them,” said Valeika. “She was student teaching in Rogersville, and that’s why she was on her way to Rogersville when she got into the accident.”

Valeika found out about the accident at work and went straight to the hospital.

“I was sitting there, and I was very angry because I’ve always told my little sisters if somebody hurts you, big brother’s going to come out in me,” Valeika said. “But let’s say this happened, and she lived through it. I said she would want to meet the person that did it, that caused it, just to tell them that she forgave them. That person who just got up that morning to do their job now has to live their life knowing that they killed a human. I would want that person, if they’re watching, to know who Mercedes was, and what type of Christian lifestyle she lived. And I would want them to know that I would want them to come forward. I would want them to do what’s right. And tell them that my family and her, we forgive them.”

Watch Valeika’s full interview here:

There is a service for Mercedes Luna this Saturday the family is calling a “celebration of life.”

It will be at 10 a.m., at the Water Mill Church of Christ.

Missouri Highway Patrol said there is no new information at this time.

If you know anything about this car or the person who may have been driving it, call police.

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