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Police ID 12-year-old driver who died after crashing into tree in Columbia

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Tree in Howard County Crash 2.0.jpeg
Posted at 11:09 AM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 17:36:32-04

COLUMBIA, Md. — Police have identified a 12-year-old driver who died in a crash overnight Sunday in Columbia.

Howard County Police say Josseline Molina-Rivas was behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla, when she lost control and struck a tree just after 2am on Broken Land Parkway near Cradlerock Way.

She died on scene.

A 36-year-old man , identified as Mario Arturo-Artiga, had been traveling with her at the time of the collision. He was taken to Shock Trauma in serious condition.

RELATED: 12-year-old driver killed after fatal crash in Columbia Sunday morning

Although not related, police say Rivas and Artiga lived in the same apartment with numerous other people.

Detectives are still unsure why Rivas was driving, and what the two were doing out on the road at that time of night.

WMAR 2 News spoke with the victim's uncle, Pablo Rivas, who said the family immigrated from El Salvador five years ago, and Josseline had so excelled in her school work at Talbott Springs Elementary School that she was about to skip a grade to start middle school this fall.

Rivas added that the family was asleep and discovered the young girl and Arturo-Artiga missing from the home in the middle of the night.

“He always wanted to make her happy, and I don’t know why he gave her the car, because the police said she was driving," said Rivas, “I always told her, ‘I will never let you drive’, when I’ve been inside the car, ‘because you’re a child. You’re only 12-years-old.’”

Whether either was under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains under investigation.

While no official cause of the crash has been determined, police do believe speed played a factor.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Rivas. So far, over $400 has been raised.