Trump rally - Heineman

Former Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman hugs Michelle Root before a rally by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Werner Enterprise Hangar in Omaha. Root is the mother of Sarah Root, who was killed in a car accident. More photos.

The mother of a woman who police say was killed in a collision by an undocumented immigrant is supporting Donald Trump, despite voting for Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections.

Michelle Root told The World-Herald that Trump’s campaign workers had reached out to her a couple of weeks after her daughter was killed.

Sarah Root, 21, died on Jan. 31, a day after her graduation from Bellevue University, when Eswin Mejia drove drunk and slammed his truck into her car, Omaha police have said. Mejia, 19, is from Honduras and came to the country illegally. He posted $5,000 bail and has been named to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s most wanted list.

The Root family has met with lawmakers in the last few weeks and testified in Congress about illegal immigration and the agency’s missteps.

Wearing a shirt with her daughter’s name and a Trump sticker, Michelle Root met privately with Trump after his speech, a campaign official said.

“You had a horrible killing here in Omaha, we don’t have to go into it ... illegal immigration,” Trump said during the speech, his only reference to Root’s death. The crowd responded by chanting “Build the wall!”

Michelle Root had thought she wasn’t going to vote this year because she didn’t like the top candidates.

“I told my daughter when she was still alive ... this was probably going to be the first year I did not vote,” Michelle said in an interview. “That has all changed (after) getting to know Mr. Trump more.”

The Modale, Iowa, resident said she is registered as a Democrat but plans to vote for Trump. She had volunteered for the John Edwards campaign in 2008 but ultimately voted for Obama in both elections.

“I was fooled by (Obama’s) promise of change,” she said.

Root agrees with Trump’s push for a wall on the border and his pledge to deport all the undocumented immigrants living in the United States. She said Trump’s policies might have prevented the tragedy that took her daughter.

“In my heart, I believe it would have because he wouldn’t have been here to do that to Sarah,” she said. “Do the right thing, come over legally.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, alia.conley@owh.com

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