Updated: Monday, 02 May 2011, 3:27 PM MDT
Published : Saturday, 30 Apr 2011, 11:43 AM MDT
CARSLBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - The city of Carlsbad honored the young mother who pushed a group of trick-or-treaters out of the way of a suspected drunk driver Friday.
It was a heroic act that cost her, her life but saved the lives of many kids.
The life Leora Dyess, 24, will now be etched into Carlsbad’s history forever.
“We wanted people to know what a true hero she was by the deed she did,” Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said.
Dyess was chaperoning a group of nine children while they were trick or treating on Halloween eve exactly six months ago.
A speeding pick-up truck came right at them.
Witnesses say Dyess pushed her daughter and the other children out of the way.
Dyess was hit and killed
The driver sped away.
Dyess's mother-in-law was overwhelmed by the monument dedicated to Leora.
“It's awesome. It's an honor that Carlsbad remembers her as much as we do,” Karla Dyess said. “She is our hero, and the city of Carlsbad believes that too.”
Gilbert Melendrez Junior, 38, was arrested a week later for vehicular homicide.
He had three prior drunk driving convictions but police could not prove he was drunk at the time of the crash because he fled the scene.
City leaders hope the memorial reminds those who see it what a true hero is.
Before the hit-and-run, investigators believe Melendrez had been drinking at his father's house just two blocks from the crash scene.
They later found the truck he was driving hidden at his home.
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