Family mourns mother killed in suspected DWI crash

October 7, 2012 8:28:32 PM PDT
Two days after an east Houston family was forever changed by a suspected drunk driving crash, the community gathered to show support for those still grieving.

Laura Hernandez was riding with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter Thursday night on Clinton near Holland in the Galena Park area. Their pickup truck was hit from behind by 21-year-old Tomas Ortiz and pushed into a creek.

When their truck came to a stop, it was flipped over and sitting in about four feet of water.

Hernandez died. Her family members were taken to the hospital.

Sunday night, they were out of the hospital and holding a benefit in their loved one's honor.

Hernandez's family was highly emotional as they spoke with us Sunday afternoon about their lost loved one and the mother and wife she was.

Her husband tells us he started trying to get his family out one by one, but there was little he could do for his wife. The truck's roof was smashed and she was trapped under water, strapped in her seatbelt.

Hernandez's son, Elias, was also in the car and says he remembers everything -- even his mother's last words.

"She was like, 'where is my granddaughter? Where is my granddaughter? Where is my granddaughter? Is she okay?'" he said.

Hernandez's son tells us his mother was always taking care of her family.

"She didn't know what hate was," he said, describing his mother. "She always loved to help, to love people. She knew what forgiving was, no matter how bad things got she always said, 'Don't give up, try, keep trying and don't fail. You're not going to fail because God will always be on your side.'"

Ortiz, who police believe was intoxicated when he crashed into the family's vehicle, is charged with intoxication manslaughter. He has since been released from jail after posting bond.

The family held a benefit at their home Sunday to raise money for funeral expenses.

Dozens of neighbors, friends and close relatives showed up to support the family in their time of need. They plan on holding services sometime this week.


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