Cary father, 2-year-old daughter killed in crash while headed to birthday celebration at beach

COLUMBUS CO., N.C. (WTVD) -- A 2-year-old girl and her father are dead after a fiery crash Thursday in Columbus County.

The Cary family was headed to the beach to celebrate the child's birthday.

According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Monika Deshmukh, 36, ran through a stop sign at the end of the ramp from U.S. 74 to U.S. 410. The family's Ford Focus ended up in the path of an oncoming tanker truck.

On Friday, a Good Samaritan who helped get the woman and the toddler out of the burning car said he and three others did what they could to save the family.

"I didn't think about the fire, the car. All I was trying to do was save someone's life," Orlando Johnson told ABC11.

Video from the scene provided by The News Reporter


He said he asked God for strength and then ran to the car as it was burning and pulled out Monika.

"I immediately grabbed her under her arms and did like a little crawl and brought her back to the edge of the grass," he said.

There on the grass the 36-year-old started to regain consciousness, and then yelled for her child.

That's when the bystanders ran back to the car to pull out the toddler.

When they got her out, they learned the husband, Mukesh Deshmukh, was still inside.

"When we looked up, it was too late for him," Johnson said.

Mukesh was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two-year-old Divija was airlifted to the hospital but later died from her injuries.

The driver of the tanker truck is okay.

Condolences for the family started pouring in Friday on GoFundMe.

According to the fundraiser, Mukesh worked as a software professional in Raleigh. He was from a small village called Bhalki in India.

"Mukesh was thorough gentleman with calm and quiet nature," the fundraiser says. "He lived simple live and could go to any extent to help his friends, family and the needy."
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