Mourning two tragic losses

February 22, 2009 6:07:38 AM PST
A mother is mourning the tragic loss of both her husband and four-year-old daughter. They died in a crash. Investigators say the driver who hit them was traveling the wrong way at the time of the accident and was drunk. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The woman who lost her loved ones spoke with us about her pain.

"There's no one and no words that can console my heart of pain of losing my Gabriela, my princess, with her dad," said Rhina Ventura in Spanish.

Her husband, Jony Ventura and their daughter, Gabriela, died in a crash on Highway 249. This, just hours after Rhina put her daughter in the back seat and snapped a picture with her cell phone.

"She said, 'Mami, take a picture of me,' and I took a picture, but I never thought it's the last picture of my baby."

Her grief is all too common says Harris County Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam. Between 400 and 500 people die each year on Harris County roads.

"The only county that has more traffic fatalities than Harris County is Los Angeles County and they only lead us by 560 traffic fatalities a year," he said.

To top that number off, Harris County drivers get 10,000 to 12,000 DWIs every year and those numbers appear to be linked to gas prices.

"When gas prices hit four dollars or in that area, we only responded to about one fatality a week and then lo and behold, gas prices go back down and we're back on again," said Diepraam.

It's a problem Diepraam says will continue.

"It's kind of cliché," he said. "But it takes a whole community to combat drunk driving or reckless driving."

The driver accused of being responsible for the crash on 249 has been identified as Idania Sagastisado. At last check, she is still in the hospital. She could face charges of intoxication manslaughter.

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