Identifying most of the Estero fiery crash victims, community mourning their loss

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The lives of everyone in an entire community instantly changed after a violent collision between a motorcycle and an SUV.

The crash happened on U.S. 41 and Williams Road in Estero Wednesday night.

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It took the lives of five people, one of them being Malachi Parker, who was on the motorcycle.

WINK News is now learning the name of one of the victims in the SUV. There were four women in the vehicle, all from the Copperleaf community, and they were leaving a bingo night.

In addition to Parker, WINK News knows the names of some of the four people in the SUV who died in Wednesday night’s crash.

Susie Galla, Maria Burgeson, and Diane Powers were three of the four friends on their way home from bingo when the crash happened.

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Maria Berguson’s family told WINK News they were her world and that everyone is trying to process this terrible tragedy.

They’re all being remembered as great people and great friends. There is a reason they were all together that night. Together is how they were often seen.

Powers was a woman her friends considered to always be laughing and telling jokes. Powers was known as someone who was simply a joy to be around.

Galla called Copperleaf home for many years before moving to Texas. She returned to visit once or twice a year to stay with her friends and do the things they loved, like boating and playing bridge.

Burgeson was a quiet person, but her talkative side shined brilliantly when she was around her three best friends.

The Copperleaf community is holding a vigil for the four women on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. The flag in the community has been at half-staff since Thursday morning out of respect for the four women.

WINK News also talked with Malachi’s father and brother throughout the day. Like Berguson’s family, they’re still trying to come to grips with their loss.

There is a growing memorial for their boy sitting on the corner of 41 and Williams, where he died.

Also, a woman who was supposed to be in the SUV with her four friends talked exclusively with Wink News.

Dianna Janego was supposed to be in the car.

“I recently came to work on Monday because I had been off for over two months with carpal tunnel surgery, so I’m a little older, and it was kind of hard on my legs and stuff. I’ve been taking naps, and I took a nap. Wednesday, I was supposed to go with [the] ladies to play bingo, and I didn’t set my alarm. I overslept, or I would have gone with them, would have been there, so when I woke up, I texted Mrs. Powers and said, ‘Hey, I just woke up. Sorry, I guess I won’t make it,’ and she wrote me back at 8:53 that ‘we missed you. We had fun.’ And I text her back like 8:23 and said, ‘I know it’s fine. Maybe next time we’ll get together,'” Janego said.

Little did Janego know she would never get together with her friends again.

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