This was a close-knit family that was enjoying the American dream. The father was an immigrant from China. They had celebrated Thanksgiving with their extended family in the East Bay. Then on Saturday, they were in an awful and tragic accident while heading back from Tahoe.
"They've always been a very, very loving family," said. "We're still trying to see what to do and how to kind of cope with our emotions," Maggie Zhao told ABC7 News. Zhao is a niece of Sheng Kuon Su, the 38-year-old San Francisco man who was killed along with most of his family in the accident. She said she and her family had just had Thanksgiving dinner with Su, his wife Shu Zhen Zhao, and their two children, 8-year-old Shawn and 10-year-old Elly.
On Saturday, her uncle took his family on a day trip to see the snow. "He takes his family to Lake Tahoe every year to see the snow and being in San Francisco, you don't see the snow very frequently, if you ever will," Zhao said. The tragic accident happened on their way back, on Highway 50 near Placerville. Their Prius collided head-on with a minivan.
In the van, a 4-year-old girl was killed. Four others survived. In the Prius, Su, his wife, and son died. Only 10-year-old Elly survived with minor injuries. Zhao calls that a miracle. "She herself is a miracle and I think we just need to convey to her that there is a very good reason that she survived," Zhao said tearfully.
Su was an iron worker who immigrated to the U.S. some two decades ago. "He does his very best to make sure that his wife and his children have what they need. He definitely is a very loving father, for sure," Zhao said. The Sus lived in San Francisco. "They do everything together. They love each other very, very much, as you can see from the pictures. They have a lot of smiles. They laugh a lot. It's, I mean, it's a tragedy," Zhao said as she showed ABC7 News photographs of a loving, caring family.
Zhao and her extended family will now raise 10-year-old Elly. "She's definitely going to achieve a lot. She needs to know that and we're trying to convey that message to her every single day, that she's special and the reason why she survived is a positive reason, not a negative one," she said.
It may have been a miracle. Elly was treated and released from the hospital the very same day. The CHP says they still don't know the cause of the accident.
The funeral will be December 5 at Grissom's Chapel in San Lorenzo.