The son and grandsons of Colorado state Sen. Suzanne Williams were hospitalized after a vehicle she was driving collided with another on a Texas highway, killing a pregnant woman, authorities said.
Williams, of Aurora, Colo., was treated at Northwest Texas Hospital and released, said Trooper Gabriel Medrano of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
He said the woman who died was 30-year-old Brianna Michelle Gomez, of Amarillo, Texas, and her baby boy was in critical condition after being delivered via cesarean section.
Medrano said the 65-year-old senator was driving a 2010 Honda CRV northbound on U.S. 385 in Hartley County when she veered into southbound traffic “for an unknown reason” and collided with a 2003 GMC Yukon in which Gomez was riding.
Three occupants in Williams’ vehicle were hospitalized – Todd Edward Williams, 41, and Tyler Williams, 7 – both of whom were ejected – and Tristan Williams, 3. Williams’ husband, Ed, told the Aurora Sentinel that they are his son and grandchildren.
Authorities said Williams was wearing a seat belt but her son and grandsons weren’t. Everyone in the Yukon were wearing seat belts.
Williams has been a strong advocate for tougher seat belt laws in the Legislature.
The lawmaker told KUSA-TV that she doesn’t remember much from the accident.
“It’s a tragedy that I now have a personal experience with a highway accident,” Williams told the television station by phone from Texas. “It’s been very traumatic.”
She didn’t discuss why her family wasn’t wearing seat belts. Her friend Rep. Nancy Todd, also of Aurora, told the television station that Todd Williams had climbed in the back seat to get the children ready for bed.
Medrano said the driver of the SUV that Williams collided with, Eric James Gomez, 30, also from Amarillo, was treated and released from Northwest Texas Hospital. Two children in the car, Mali Elise Gomez, 6, and Eleri Kate Gomez, 4, were also released from that hospital.
Eric Gomez veered to try to avoid the collision with Williams but the cars crashed head-on in the center of the road, Medrano said.
Colorado Senate President Brandon Shaffer issued a statement Monday saying, “This was a horrific accident.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved,” he said.
It was not immediately known whether charges would be filed for the crash.
Williams tried but failed to pass a bill this year that would have allowed police to pull over anyone not wearing a seat belt and ticket them. Currently, Colorado authorities can only cite drivers for failing to wear a seat belt if they are pulled over for another offense.
Williams succeeded, however, in passing a measure requiring children up to 8 years old to ride in booster seats; the requirement had been only for children up to age 6. The stricter booster seat law went into effect in August.