DWI crash claims life of young mother

Victim's aunt: 'You never think it's going to happen to you'

SAN ANTONIO - A crash took the life of a young mother and may leave her 19-year-old sister disabled -- all because of a night out partying.


It happened early Thursday morning on Medical Drive when the driver lost control of the Chevrolet Tahoe they were riding in.

Their aunt says she still can't believe her warnings of drinking and driving ended up keeping them from behind the wheel, but still in the path of death.

"They were funny and loving and caring and, you know, they made a choice to get into a vehicle where their friend was drunk," said Joanne Rodriguez Hamm, the victim's aunt.

Lori Rodriguez, a mother of a 4-year-old, was found dead at the scene.

Amber Rodriguez, 19, herself mother to a toddler, is in horrible shape at University Hospital.

"(She has a) broken right foot, dislocated leg at this side, broken arm, broken jaw, and her pelvis is shattered," her aunt said.

Her fellow rear-seat passenger walked away from the bloody crash.

The driver, who police suspect had been drinking, has been identified Maria Valaria. She also died at the scene.

Rodriguez says she's shocked at the outcome, which will be lasting for Lori's 4-year-old son.

"He's running around like a 4-year-old. I just feel really bad for him because he's not going to know how wonderful is mother was," she said.

Her warnings to not drink and drive to her nieces were not enough to save them both, she said.

"You see this on the news all the time: Somebody's driving drunk; somebody killed somebody. But you never think it's going to happen to you."

Joanne Rodriguez says she has been going on Facebook to leave messages for her dead niece.

She says that's how she learned that the driver who died had just been mourning the loss of a friend, who also died recently in a DWI crash.


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