21-year-old girl was driving 3 friends home when all were killed in New Year’s crash

Father recalls ‘laughter, kindness’ of daughter

WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – The father of a 21-year-old girl who lost her life on New Year’s Eve in a tragic car crash told Local 10′s Roy Ramos that his heart used to break when he would see tragedies on the news. That’s when he would pray for the safety of his family. Now he’s dealing with one of those tragedies.

Tears welled up in the eyes of Andres Medina as he described what he would miss most about his 21-year-old daughter Yulia Gelats who, with her three friends, tragically lost her life in a crash early New Year’s Day.

“Her laughter, her kindness, how good she was to people. All of those kids were just one big family, they looked out for each other,” Medina said.

His daughter was a student at Florida International University who was planning to graduate in just a few months with a degree in psychology. Medina said Yulia was elated after learning she had recently made the Dean’s list.

“Very proud and it was all she deserved because she was a hard-working kid,” he said.

The heart-wrenching pain could be heard in this father’s voice as he described how three Florida Highway Patrol officers arrived at his door Friday morning to inform him that his only daughter had been involved in a fatal crash.

Medina said Yulia had just left a friend’s house and was in the process of dropping off three others in her blue Hyundai Elantra. That’s when Florida Highway Patrol said that around 4 a.m., she attempted to make a left turn onto Flagler Street when her car and a black Chevy Tahoe collided.

Friends and family continue to visit a growing memorial at the intersection near 79th Avenue. Her father has a message so other family’s will never have to feel his pain.

“I just wish that there were more conscious people out there driving and not only looking out for themselves but looking out for the other who may not be doing their job driving safe,” he said.

The names of the three passengers killed in Yulia’s car have not been released by investigators.

As for the three people in the Tahoe, the 16-year-olds were transported to Kendall Regional Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com. She has a bachelor's degree from Emerson College, Boston, and a master's degree from SUNY-Empire State.