Heartbroken mother grieves daughter's death

March 24, 2009 8:47:28 AM PDT
A mother is heartbroken after she lost her daughter in a car crash. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Over the weekend, 17-year-old Samantha Romero died in a chain-reaction accident. Grief counselors were on hand at Texas City High School Monday, which is where the teen attended classes.

The wreckage from the deadly accident in La Marque has been long cleared. But the pain its caused is still very fresh.

"It's a shock to know she's not going to come home anymore," said Tracy Leal, Samantha's mother.

In between receiving visitors and making funeral arrangements Monday, Leal sat down with us to share memories of her 17-year-old daughter.

"She was spunky. She was very spunky, very friendly," said Leal. "She was the life of the house, really."

And she told us she's not angry at the man police say caused her death.

"That's like the furthest thing from my mind," she said.

Sam, as she was called, was in the back seat of a vehicle early Saturday morning along with five other teens. They were stopped at a red light at FM 1765 and Ross in La Marque when another car struck them from behind and then struck another vehicle. The three-car accident killed Sam and injured eight others, including a pregnant woman.

La Marque police believe the driver who started it all, Jim Howard III, had been drinking.

"I've cried a lot," said Leal. "That first night was horrible."

Yet Leal is somehow at peace, she says.

"I haven't seen her, so I don't know if it hasn't sunk in," she said.

Her daughter's death has elicited sheer honestly about drunk driving.

"I won't do it again," said Leal. "Just too many precious lives destroyed."

As she grieves, Tracy also prays for the recovery of Sam's friends, all Texas City High School students and surprisingly, isn't looking for justice in a courtroom.

"I know that the suffering he'll have to do just living with that alone is enough payback for me," she said.

Howard was also injured and remains in the hospital. Authorities are waiting for the blood test results before any charges are filed.

A memorial fund for Samantha Romero has been set up in her name at Texas First Bank, Texas City. Donations will go toward covering the cost of her funeral.

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