SAN ANTONIO – The mother of the wrong way driver in Sunday night's fatal car accident is feeling helpless in her despair. She said she understands what the victims' families feel, because she's grieving, too.
"We don't know what to do. We just know that we lost our son and others lost their loved one and their family members are hospitalized and hurting, and what can I do?" 80-year-old Hope Long said.
She is overwhelmed with grief, confusion, and remorse as she mourns the loss of her son.
"I just don't want them to rush to judging him because they don't know him. That's why I felt the need to speak and let people know what kind of a person my son is," she said.
Police say Hope Long’s son, Steven Long, was driving the wrong way on the I-35 access road Sunday night when he crashed into another car at the Walzem Road intersection.
Steven Long died at the scene. The driver of the second car, Johnny Hernandez, was also killed. Hernandez's fiancé and two children, 8-months old and 11 years old were also in the car. The three of them were taken to University Hospital and are expected to recover.
"Another family is hurting just as much as I'm hurting. I am so sorry that it happened. I want to give that family my condolences for their loss and also prayers that are hospitalized," Long said, overcome by emotion.
When police told Hope Long what happened, she immediately felt the need to come to her son's defense.
"I want the public to know that my son was a very responsible person. Very caring, very loving. A rock to us, a rock to his three kids," she said.
She said Steven Long was his parent's main caretaker, and lived with them in their Westside home. She explained that he also worked as a car safety inspector.
"He knows all about safety and the safety of vehicles. That's drilled into him at work every day, so it's very surprising that this happened because he's not that kind of a person," Hope said,
She said the hardest thing about the loss is that she doesn't know why it happened. Police have not released any preliminary information about what may have caused the accident, including whether alcohol was involved.
Hope Long said her son was painting a garage with his brother all day Sunday. She said he came back to her house around 3 p.m. and took a nap. She said around 9 p.m. he left to get food.
She said Steven Long did take some medications for health problems, but didn't seem to be impaired the night of the accident. She is anxious to know what the police report determines caused him to drive the wrong way down a busy road. Until then, she'll continue to feel baffled and heartbroken.
"Pray," she said. "That's all I can do. Pray for those hurt."
KSAT also spoke to the mother of the woman hospitalized but she was too upset to go on camera. As of late Monday morning, she said her daughter and the two children were still at University Hospital.