ANGLETON, Texas – One mother is doing everything she can to stay strong.
The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous one, but Monica Mendez is mourning the loss of her two children and husband after a tragic accident in Angleton.
“I think about them every second of the day. I miss them so much,” Mendez said, who lost her 4-year-old son Cameron, 2-year-old daughter Camila and 34-year-old husband Justin Pena on November 28.
A month later, she is still fighting for answers and accountability.
“My son, I never fell in love so hard with anybody. He loved me so much, and he was the greatest kid in the world,” Mendez said.
On that devastating night, Cameron, Camila and Pena were in a car driving home. Mendez said she was expecting a call from Pena because she was out of town.
“He was supposed to let me know (so I could) say goodnight to the kids because I happened to be out of town,” Mendez said.
Instead, Mendez received a call from law enforcement officials, who informed her that there was an accident.
“None of them made it,” Mendez said.
Mendez’s attorneys said the family was traveling near Interstate 288 and County Road 220 when the driver of a Ford F250 crashed into them. The driver survived.
Mendez spent the holidays remembering them.
“Justin, he was so funny and crazy,” Mendez laughed while in tears. “And I loved him so much. My daughter, she was everything to me. She was my little twin. She had my attitude, she was my everything.”
Mendez’s attorneys claim the other driver was intoxicated and has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
So far, no charges have yet been filed.
”I’m at a standstill and I don’t know how to take it. It’s been a month,” Mendez said.
Mendez’s attorney Bilaal Badat released a statement regarding the lawsuit.
“As the world suffers from a global pandemic, innocent Texas drivers continue to fall prey to a long-lasting epidemic-drunk driving. Countless lives have been lost due to the negligence of drunk drivers and establishments that overserve those individuals to build up their bottom line. When will it stop? Too many broken families, too many tears, and too many painful memories. We will fight for Ms. Mendez in her pursuit for justice, making sure these establishments and the individuals involved are held responsible.”
Attorney Mo Aziz also added: “This incident was an unnecessary tragedy that could easily have been avoided. I mourn with Ms. Mendez and her family.”
Texas DPS investigators told KPRC 2 the investigation is still active and ongoing, and deputies are continuing to work on potential charges. For now, Mendez’s attorneys are hoping criminal charges against the driver will be filed and that the TABC will also investigate.
For now, this holiday was tough for Mendez.
“I tried. I actually went to my family’s house, but there were so many kids and everybody with their kids, and I couldn’t take it. I stayed maybe an hour, and I went home because I’m not ready for that,” Mendez explained.
This mother said despite the pain, she will not stop fighting to get justice.
“I hope (the driver) pays and goes to jail for what he did because I have nothing,” Mendez said.
Mendez said Pena was the breadwinner of the family. She buried her loved ones earlier this month.