IRVING (CBS 11 NEWS) – A fund has been established to help a North Texas family devastated by a weekend crash that killed three children– and left a fourth hospitalized in critical condition. Meanwhile, the children’s’ school family is learning just how much of an impact they made on those young lives.
Before the youngest child, 6-year-old Jesus Gonzalez was disconnected from life support on Monday, his teachers from Brown Elementary school in Irving were called to his bedside.
“They told us many stories about things Jesus had said about his teachers, and how proud of what he had accomplished this year in first grade,” says Brown’s Principal Raymie Ramsey. “[And] how anxious he was every weekend to come back to school on Monday.”
Ramsey accompanied her teachers to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth on Monday for the emotional visit. Even now, she struggles to find the words to describe such a loss.
“It was devastating,” says Ramsey. “How does any parent? How does any person even fathom the idea of losing three of your four children?”
At about 1:50 PM Grand Prairie 911 received a report of a stranded motorist in the left lane of westbound I-30. While officers were en route, additional calls came in reporting that the stranded vehicle had been struck and that there were injuries.
Officers arrived moments later and discovered that several children in the stalled vehicle had been critically injured in the crash. All four children were taken Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
The injured children have been identified as:
- Maria del Refugio Gonzalez, age 12, died on Sunday afternoon at Cook Children’s.
- Diana Gonzalez, age 13, died on Sunday evening at Cook Children’s.
- Jesus Gonzalez, age 6, died Monday at Cook Children’s.
- Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, age 10, currently in critical condition at Cook Children’s.
Accident Investigators determined that Maria Francisca Vasquez, 31, of Irving, was driving a 2004 Dodge Stratus westbound on I-30 when she encountered mechanical problems and the car stalled in the left lane of traffic.
Her husband, Juan Gonzalez, 34, was standing outside the car when it was struck from behind by a Ford F150 pickup driven by Justin Beavers, 30, of North Richland Hills. The children were in the back seat. The driver of the Dodge, who is the mother of all four children, had minor injuries and went to the hospital with the children.
Neither the driver of the Ford pickup or Mr. Gonzalez were injured. The accident is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, counselors have been made available at the school for both staffers and the students. Additional staff was also on hand today to step in if teachers needed to take a break. 10-year-old Maria de Jesus Gonzalez is in fourth grade at Brown Elementary. Letters went home with the students encouraging parents to answer questions honestly and continue those difficult conversations that have already begun.
“We’re a school family and every student in this building belongs to every adult in this building,” says Ramsey. “The kids know, but we just want to make sure that we give them the support and are identifying any kids that need any extra assistance through this.”
Donations to help the family can be made at any Wells Fargo branch to the Diana Maria Jesus Gonzalez Memorial Fund.
A vigil is planned for Wednesday from 4:00 – 5:00 PM at Lamar Middle School, where the older siblings were students.
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