Colorado lawmaker not indicted in fatal crash
May 19, 2011
LUBBOCK, Texas – A Texas grand jury has cleared a Colorado state lawmaker of criminal wrongdoing after the car she was driving collided head-on with another vehicle, killing a pregnant woman, the district attorney who presented the case said Wednesday.
Hartley County District Attorney David Green said at a news conference that grand jurors declined to indict Colorado Sen. Suzanne Williams.
Investigators say Williams’ car drifted into oncoming traffic on Dec. 26 along U.S. 385 near Channing and crashed into an oncoming car, killing 30-year-old Brianna Gomez of Amarillo. Gomez’s unborn child was delivered by cesarean section.
Williams, 66, said she was relieved by the announcement.
“It has been a horrific experience for the Gomez family and my family,” Williams, a staunch advocate of child-restraint laws, she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I continue to keep the Gomez family in my prayers.”
Gomez’s husband, Eric Gomez, called the grand jury’s decision “unfortunate.”
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“No matter what I do, no matter how long I stomp my foot it’s not going to change the call on the field,” said the coach and teacher at Amarillo High School. “And on a larger scale there’s nothing I can do to change what the grand jury decided.”
He said the family is regrouping and will “see where that leads us.”
A call to Green’s office was not immediately returned. He told reporters he would not discuss specifics of the panel’s deliberations other than to say it decided not to issue criminal indictments.
“We want to express our sympathy over the loss of Brianna Gomez,” Green said, according to the Amarillo Globe-News website. “Our prayers are with them.”
The Colorado legislator’s 3-year-old grandson was ejected from her vehicle, but she managed to find the boy and put him back into a car seat, according to a preliminary investigative report. Williams has said she has no recollection of the crash.
Williams was wearing a seat belt, though her 41-year-old son and two grandsons, were not. All survived.
Gomez’s husband and two other children also survived.
Rep. Nancy Todd of Aurora, a Denver suburb, has said the family told her that Williams’ son had climbed into the back seat to unbuckle and put pajamas on the boys, who were also unbuckled so he could put them to bed for the drive to Colorado.
The Texas Panhandle town near where the accident occurred is about 375 miles southeast of the Denver area.