02/24/04 — Wreck survivor faces uncertain future

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Wreck survivor faces uncertain future

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 24, 2004 1:58 PM

Twelve-year-old Sandra Reynoso remembers her last conversation with her family before they died, says a family friend.

Sandra, who is in stable condition at Wayne Memorial Hospital, started remembering the accident, and the doctor had to tell her she's the only survivor. Her pastor's wife, Maria Bermudez, held her while she cried.


Bobby Williams

This memorial was placed at the scene of an accident near the intersection of Kelly Springs Road and Indian Springs Road that took the lives of four people, including two children, on Saturday morning.

Mrs. Bermudez said Sandra's parents were going to buy her a pair of sneakers. On Saturday morning, Sandra and her sisters, Blanca, 8, and Alejandra, 7, were on a shopping trip with their parents, Alfonzo Reynoso, 37, and Alfonsina Maldonado, 30. The car hit another car and overturned. (Because of the different way in which Hispanics give family names, the children have been incorrectly identified with the last name of Maldonado.)

The other driver in the wreck was Juanita Davis Lee, 30, of Chell's Drive, Mount Olive, was rushed by ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Seconds before the fire, two bystanders pulled Sandra from the wreckage. Her mother, father and two sisters died.

The family lived at 688 Atlas Price Road. The children attended the Hispanic Baptist Church and went to Spring Creek Elementary School.

The girls' mother was a wonderful woman, said Mrs. Bermudez. Mrs. Bermudez's husband is the pastor at the church.

"I knew her," said Mrs. Bermudez. "Mama would send the girls to church. Sometimes when the church van would not run, she would take them to church and drop them off. We would take them home. ... Blanca was so full of life. She made everybody's day. Alejandra was a quiet spirit."

Sandra was the one who felt responsible for everyone. When she remembered the accident, she was concerned about her family suffering.

"She was always taking care of somebody else," said Mrs. Bermudez. "She was concerned about her teacher yesterday, because her teacher had not gone for lunch."

Every six or seven hours, another one of Sandra's teachers from Spring Creek Elementary School arrives at the hospital. They are taking turns staying with her 24 hours a day. "It's a wonderful thing they are doing," said Mrs. Bermudez. "Whenever they need me, they call me."

Sandra still has bad moments, said Mrs. Bermudez. "It will be a long battle in her heart. I let her know a lot of people are around who love her."

Her grandmother on her mother's side has come from Houston, Texas, to take the bodies back home. Social workers are trying to decide whether to let Sandra stay with the Bermudez family or return to Texas with her grandmother.

"My home is open to her," said Mrs. Bermudez. "The three girls were faithful to come to church every Sunday. They knew the Lord, and I know they are with Him. It's sad. I spent all day yesterday at the hospital with her. She's a strong little girl."

Sandra is suffering a broken leg, a broken jaw, some internal injuries. Social workers are trying to decide whether to have her return to Texas with her grandmother or whether to let her live with the pastor and his wife.

"She wants to come with me," said Mrs. Bermudez. "She says, 'How are you going to get me to school. The bus doesn't come here.' I said, 'I'll take you.'... They were a wonderful family. It's a great loss for the church. They will be missed."