Family, community mourn loss of 4-year-old girl in tragic Halloween night crash in Groton

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GROTON–Tragedy struck a family Monday on what was supposed to be a fun Halloween night, and it wasn’t the first time. Now, are asking for help.

Delilah Ali, 4, was in the backseat of her parents car when it crashed on the Gold Star Highway in Groton around 5:30 p.m. Delilah suffered serious injuries, and died the next day.

A memorial has been set up near the location of the crash to honor the little girl.

Now, the family needs help to pay for Delilah’s funeral. They’ve started a GoFundMe page, and any additional funds raised will be donated to Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital.

“Delilah was a beautiful and joyful little girl, who loved to swim and everything pink,” according to the GoFundMe.

FOX 61 spoke to Delilah’s aunt, Crystal Mackin, who said the family was headed to a Halloween pizza party at her grandmother’s house just a few miles away when the crash occurred. The pizza party was an annual tradition for the family.

Delilah was in the car with her parents, and Mackin was in the car right behind them when the crash happened.

“I just happened to look up and I see a blueish car plowing my sisters car into the guard rail,” she recalled. Delilah was thrown from her car seat into the trunk. She threw her car in park and ran to her sister’s car, when she “realized the whole side of the car was like peeled open like a tuna can.”

"I couldn't touch her, I couldn't touch her I couldn't -- I was afraid she would fall apart in my hands. I just feel so horrible that I couldn't help her I was right here and I couldn't help her," she added.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, and police were back on the scene Thursday to continue investigating.

Mackin said Delilah was incredibly special to the whole family. "She was just the sweetest most precious innocent little tiny tiny thing. She was the baby of our family and we all loved her so much, so much."

This isn't the only tragedy the family has faced. Mackin confirmed to FOX 61 that her family suffered great loss in 2011 when another family member, Jaclyn Wirth, was murdered.

A man fired nine shots through her Norwich apartment door while her two young sons were home with her, according to police.

Police arrested Lashawn Cecil, 33, of Norwich in 2015. He'll next be in court December 5.

You can find the GoFundMe here. The goal is $8,000, and in less than a day it had raised $500.