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High-Profile Accident Spotlights Importance of Seat Belts

A tragic New Year's Eve automobile accident took the life of an Amarillo mother, left her then-unborn child fighting for his life and nearly killed the son of the Colorado state senator who was also involved in the car crash.

According to information provided by the Texas State Highway Patrol, an SUV being driven northbound on U.S. highway 385 outside of Channing, Texas, suddenly crossed the centerline into the path of oncoming southbound traffic. Senator Williams' vehicle struck one carrying Eric Gomez, his pregnant wife, Brianna, and their two young daughters.

The brunt of the damage to the Gomez family's vehicle was brought to bear upon Brianna, seated in the front passenger seat. In spite of the fact that she was restrained and the car was equipped with a supplemental restraint system, she soon succumbed to her injuries and only survived the accident by hours. That short time was vital for doctors, however, because it gave them time to perform a caesarean section to deliver her near-term baby boy. He remains hospitalized, but the rest of the Gomez family was treated and released following the accident.

The passengers in Senator Williams' vehicle fared slightly better. The senator herself suffered minor injuries, as did her two grandsons, seated in the backseat. Her son, however, was critically injured. He was not wearing a seatbelt, and he was ejected from the vehicle. Ironically, Senator Williams is known in Colorado legislative circles as an outspoken proponent of tough seatbelt laws. That is why it is so tragic that her son and two grandchildren suffered needlessly because they were not secured in the vehicle.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, and authorities have made no decision about possible criminal charges.

Related Resource: Amarillo News "Traffic Tragedy Needs Answers", Dec. 30

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