Classmates Remember Crash Victims at Vigil

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dozens of students, parents and teachers gathered to remember three siblings who died in a weekend car crash on Interstate 30. (Published Friday, Feb 1, 2013)

    Dozens of students, parents and teachers gathered Wednesday afternoon to remember three siblings who died in a weekend car crash on Interstate 30.

    The collision took place at about 2 p.m. Sunday when the family’s Dodge Stratus stalled in the left lane near the George Bush Turnpike interchange in Grand Prairie.

    The family had called 911 and was waiting for help when a Ford F-150 pickup truck struck the vehicle from behind.

    Four children, 12-year-old Maria del Refugio Gonzalez, 13-year-old Diana Gonzalez, 6-year-old Jesus Gonzalez and 10-year-old Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, were sitting in the backseat at the time of the crash.

    All four children were taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.

    Maria and Diana Gonzalez, who both attended Lamar Middle School in Irving, died of their injuries. The parents took Jesus Gonzalez off of life support on Monday evening..

    Maria Gonzalez, who attend Brown Elementary School with Jesus, remains in critical condition at Cook Children's Medical Center.

    Educators in the Irving school district said they wanted to provide a way for the students to grieve.

    On Wednesday after school, they gathered around the flagpole at Lamar Middle School to pray, sing and remember the students who died.

    "It was devastating, like my heart was broken in pieces," said Eduardo Escalante, who was close friends with Diana Gonzales. "To find out she had been in a very horrible situation, plus when I found out that she passed away, I was more devastated, like a piece of my heart was ripped apart."

    "I used to see her in the hallways," said Yvonne Robeldo, a classmate of Diana Gonzalez. "Now it's kind [of] weird not seeing her."

    Lamar Middle School Principal Joe Moreno said a lot of the students are struggling to cope with the loss of their peers.

    "A lot of it's 'Why?' I mean, it’s difficult for us as adults to know and understand death; you can imagine kids," he said.

    At the memorial, several students placed flowers at the flagpole, along with teddy bears and letters.

    They said it was an opportunity to say goodbye.

    "Now I know she's resting with the angels and she’s in a very good place other than this world that we're living in," Escalante said.