HOUSTON – A mother suspected of driving while intoxicated was charged after her 3-year-old son died in a car wreck Saturday morning when she crashed into a guardrail in south Houston, police say.
Authorities said they suspect the mother was highly intoxicated. Cristal Gonzalez, 26, was charged with felony murder and intoxication assault, officials said.
Houston police said they suspect Gonzalez was driving on the wrong side of the street down Mykawa Road when she veered and lost control of the car, slamming into a concrete barrier around 5 a.m.
Gonzalez's 3-year-old and 8-year-old sons were passengers in the car. Just before the wreck, the woman reportedly picked the boys up from their father’s home.
First responders transported the mother and young boys to a nearby hospital, where the 3-year-old later died, police said.
Houston Police Department Sgt. Thomas Fendia said investigators believe the young child was in a car seat but don't believe the car seat was the right size or that the child was correctly buckled in.
The other boy suffered a broken femur but is expected to survive. The mother, who suffered traumatic chest injuries, is in critical condition. Police said she is out of surgery and expected to survive.
"There was a strong odor of alcohol in the car," Fendia said. "She actually did throw up, and there were some pills in there also."
"We're out here on another alcohol-related tragedy,” Sean Teare, with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said. “It happens too often. It is unacceptable.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is cracking down on reckless driving after the troubling incident.
“Any time that you have one of the most unprotected and vulnerable populations that get hurt in one of these senseless crashes, it adds a level of importance,” Teare said.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.