ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Surrounded by works of art created by their late daughter and sister, Mae and Marcus Speights remember Yalanda.
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"We just had each other, she was kind of like my best friend," said Yalanda’s mother, Mae Speights.
Mae and Yalanda were heading home from shopping on November 24 when St. Petersburg Police say the mother and daughter were struck by a stolen car at 18th Avenue South and 28th Street South. The crash left both women with injuries, but Yalanda's were critical.
"There was this car come out of nowhere, and I really didn't have time to react or do nothing when it happened," said Mae, who was driving.
Yalanda died Saturday, December 1.
"Now I miss everything, I miss it all," Mae told us.
"She just a caring person," said Marcus Speights, Yalanda's brother. "Wanted to know more about things to talk about more."
Reminders of a creative spirit
What Yalanda didn’t verbalize, she expressed through art at Creative Clay in St. Petersburg. The cultural arts center serves adults with disabilities through the arts.
Yalanda was a member artist there for sixteen years.
One piece hanging in the gallery Yalanda named "Mae," after her mother.
"Besides her beautiful work, her smile was just disarming," said Kim Dohrman, Creative Clay’s Executive Director. “She had a beautiful smile and she smiled a lot, and we will miss that, too."
Though family and friends miss Yalanda and mourn her passing, they also said they're finding newfound joy and meaning in Yolanda’s art.
"I miss her and I feel her at peace," said Dohrman.
"The circles and everything like that, it brings a smile," said Marcus, speaking of the art.
"I just know it's her," said Mae.
The Speights are in the process of planning Yalanda’s funeral. They are also creating a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.