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Family of Thruway Fatal Crash Victims Want Answers

11:12 PM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York State Police believe the driver of a van that crashed on the Thruway Thursday morning may have fallen asleep while driving.

Less than a week after the triple fatal accident, relatives want a thorough investigation. State Police say a dump truck was parked in the center median, east of Silver Creek.  Annabel Arroyo told 2 On Your Side, "we want to know where this truck was parked," claiming there are various conflicting reports.

State Police also say it appears that there were not enough child safety seats in the van for all of the children who needed them.

"It's not clear whether the one month old was properly restrained in a seat or not," says NY State Police Captain Douglas Montijo. "Anybody that has children, I'm sure it pulls on their heart strings as well. It just, it appears that it's a very unfortunate event that, you know, I can't believe families are still doing this without child seats and if anybody takes anything away from this, I want to stress the importance of using properly restrained children, child seats, booster seats, whatever the condition may be for your children.

"We have to remember, take some time, to put your children in the appropriate seats with appropriate chairs or equipment needed," said the aunt.

The victims who did not survive as identified as Christieann Gonzalez, 29; Luis A. Arroyo, 27; and 1-month-old Luis A. Arroyo Jr.

The other crash victims areJessica Gonzalez, 24 and her 2-year-old son, Jaicob and another son, Jaiden, 4.

Gonzalez's 13-year-old daughter, Alexandra, 10-year-old son, Alexis, and  8-year-old daughter, Yamaris, along with Arroyo's 6-year-old daughter, Adrianna.

Investigators do not think weather was a problem on the roads, and they also say traffic on the Thruway in Brant was light at the time of the crash. "I think this is a disaster that is not only emotionally traumatizing for the family, but in our center, we mobilize our chaplain, our social services workers, so we're there to support the family, and we also support each other," says Dr. Kathryn Bass with Women's and Children's Hospital.

No one else on the Thruway saw the accident, but many drivers stopped to help the family as emergency response teams were called out to the crash to get the survivors to the hospital.

A Thruway worker also got hurt. State Police tell us he likely broke his wrist. His name has not been released.

There is a fund set up to assist the family with funeral and medical expenses. Donations can be made to the Demaris Medina and Children fund at any Bank of America.

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