Family of 22-year-old killed in wrong-way crash on I-45 say she 'had a lot of plans'

Brooke Taylor Image
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Family say loved one killed in wrong-way crash 'had a lot of plans'
Through tears, the family and boyfriend of a 22-year-old woman killed in a wrong-way crash on I-45 speak to Eyewitness News about their loved one's future plans that were cut short in an instant.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Over the weekend, 22-year-old Nely Martinez was killed by a wrong-way driver on I-45, just one week after a report named the freeway the deadliest in the U.S.

Osvaldo Sanchez, marked with cuts and gashes, was driving his pickup truck with his girlfriend, Nely, in the passenger seat.

The couple was coming home from a bar and grill around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday morning. Around the same time, DPS said calls started flooding in about a wrong-way driver on the northbound lanes of I-45 near Rayford Road.

SEE ALSO: Innocent woman and wrong-way driver killed, 2 hurt in I-45 crash

Minutes later, Sanchez's pickup truck was hit head-on by the reported driver. Nely was killed in the crash.

"I remember holding her hand," said Sanchez, as he fought back tears. "We were laughing. She was always happy. It didn't matter where she was."

Juan Martinez, Nely's father, said his daughter had a bright future ahead of her as a hairstylist and was also going to school.

"We tried to help out, but she always told us she didn't need help. She had a lot of plans and now she's gone," Juan said.

Juan believes his daughter's death could have been avoided.

"They didn't do anything to stop it," said Juan, referring to DPS who got the calls of the driver.

The wrong-way driver was a 25-year-old woman and was also killed in the crash. There were two others in the backseat of the pickup truck who remain in critical condition.

A report released last week by Budget Direct, called I-45 running from Galveston to Dallas, through Houston, the most deadly road in the U.S.

SEE ALSO: Houston stretch of highway named deadliest in the U.S. by new report

The report said the freeway has seen 56.5 fatal accidents for every 100 miles of roadway.

It's a statistic that Juan never imagined his daughter would be part of. However, he is just thankful for the time he got to spend with her.

"She's the best girl and was the best daughter to us," Juan said. "I want to thank my God for giving me the chance to meet her. I mean I want her for a long time, all my life. But I am just thankful for our time."

The Martinez family wanted to thank the community for the outpouring of support.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Nely's family during this time.