HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A Harris County family suffered a tremendous loss after a 32-year-old mother was killed in a drunk driving crash last week. Her 2-year-old daughter remains hospitalized.
Now the family wants their story to serve as a lesson for others about the dangers of driving while under the influence.
Claudia Santillan was driving home with her 2-year old daughter Friday, Jan. 8. They were in Highlands in northeast Harris County, just one minute away from her house, when a black Silverado truck veered into Claudia’s lane and crashed into their truck head on.
Claudia and the other driver died at the scene. She never made it home to her husband.
"It's very tough on him. He is very emotional at the moment and misses Claudia every single day. It was a surprise for him," Stephanie Organista, Claudia's cousin, said.
The family says it's been tough on everyone. See that night Claudia had just left her cousin’s house. She was praying a rosary for her uncle who had just died of COVID in December. Claudia’s own father also died of COVID in October. And now Claudia’s death is just another blow to the family.
"It was a shock to all of us. We didn’t expect it to happen. We were the last people to see her," Organista said.
Claudia’s 2-year-old daughter Oriana was taken to the hospital via Life Flight. She has several broken bones and has had to have two surgeries. She finally left ICU on Tuesday, but the hardest part for the family is trying to figure out how they’re going to tell Oriana that her mother is gone.
"For the baby not to grow up with her mother that is just heartbreaking," Organista said.
And now the family hopes this tragedy serves as a lesson to others to think twice before getting behind the wheel while under the influence.
The family has set up a go fund me account to help with funeral and medical expenses.