Salazar Family Coping With Unthinkable Tragedy

August 11, 2009 10:43:14 PM PDT
Doctors at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno advised Jennifer Salazar's relatives that her health is so fragile they should hold off on breaking the devastating news that all five of her children were killed in Saturday's crash in Dinuba. The family pastor, Robert Hooks told Action News he's known Carlos and Jennifer Salazar since they were children and having to tell the 29 year old father what happened was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do. He said, "I was the one who broke the news to him. He just simply asked, 'All of them?' And he began to say 'Oh no' and wept uncontrollably."Pastor Hooks said Carlos' emotional suffering far outweighs the physical pain from broken ribs, a concussion and internal injuries. He said he was shocked when he saw Jennifer for the first time in the hospital. "She looked really, really battered."

Relatives said 26 year old Jennifer shattered an ankle and her pelvis. Her face bears the scars of a horrific car accident that killed her five children, something no one has been able to tell her until Tuesday afternoon.

Hooks said, "She was in no condition. She's been in surgery, heavily sedated and in and out. Doctors were concerned about stabilizing her physically before telling her something of that magnitude."

Jennifer's uncle told Action News the pickup truck Carlos was driving belonged to Carlos' grandfather and had never been used to drive all seven family members.

The CHP's accident report says every child was ejected from the truck and killed because they weren't in seat belts or safety seats. Pastor Hooks said, "We're dealing with the could've, the shoulda, woulda coulda." He wants everyone to reserve judgment on Carlos and Jennifer until they are well enough to explain their side of this tragic story. "Did they have a better chance? Probably. But to say absolutely the seatbelts would have saved them is a big statement. The velocity of that hit was like a missile on wheels."

Jennifer Salazar had a major surgery yesterday and needs at least one more for her pelvis. The family would like to hold out as long as they can on the children's funeral until Jennifer is well enough to attend but they're not sure if they'll be able to do that.

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