Ala. family coming to terms with losing 2 relatives in Interstate 459 crash

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MIDFIELD, Alabama — Relatives of two people who died in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 459 say they're trying to regroup from the accident and the loss feels surreal.

Shontella Denise Sturdivant, 39, of Midfield, and Derrick Sturdivant, 15, died after the SUV they were riding in veered into oncoming traffic Tuesday afternoon, officials from the Jefferson County Coroner's office said.

Police have said the crash happened near the Montgomery Highway interchange and two children were also injured in the crash. Circumstances that led to the crash are unclear.

Denise Sturdivant's mother, Dolly Sturdivant, told ( that her daughter and grandchildren had just left the Riverchase Galleria and her two surviving grandchildren are twins named Jai and Jailyn who recently turned 8 years old.

Sturdivant attended Midfield High School and majored in criminal justice at the University of Alabama Birmingham, her mother said, adding that she later went on to work for an insurance company. Sturdivant said her daughter enjoyed spending time taking her children to the playground and out to eat. Relatives said Derrick Sturdivant, a student at Midfield High School, played the drums in the school band and spent time skating and going to the movies.

Sturdivant said she and relatives who have stepped forward since the crash plan on helping each other raise the surviving children.

"We're going to make it," she said. "I just pray that I'll be allowed to live long enough to see them grow up and become self-sufficient. I'm not in the best of health, but I'll do all I can do."

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