Bellaire HS grad injured in crash at violent Virginia rally

BELLAIRE, Texas (KTRK) -- Last Thursday, Natalie Romero told her mother she was going to a counter-protest in Virginia to stand up to white nationalists holding a demonstration.

"I told her to be careful," Ericka Chaves said. When asked if she had a bad feeling about it, she replied, "I'm scared every time she walks out the door."

Romero was among the injured when a white nationalist protester aimed his car at those marching in opposition, killing one woman and injured 19 others.

Chaves learned about the trouble when someone asked if she had seen the news. A nurse then called to tell her that her daughter was hospitalized.

The 20-year-old UVA student has a skull fracture, the most serious of her injuries.

Romero graduated from Bellaire High School and was given a ROTC scholarship to the university. Her family said she wants to go into the Army after graduation and then go on to a public service career in Washington.

A daughter of immigrants, Chaves said Romero was always involved in equality issues.

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"She wants to help us -- my son and me," her mother said.

Asked if she was surprised that the Virginia tragedy, fueled by hate, would happen in America, Chavez paused.

"Probably not. We have seen a lot of things going on. But not to my daughter -- she was just protesting peacefully," Chaves said.

She doesn't know when her daughter will be released from the hospital but hopes it will be soon.

"I just want her back here," she said.

Romero's family created a GoFundMe page to help offset medical bills from her hospitalization.

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