Mom worries about being homeless after pickup smashes house (w/video)
July 14, 2014 at 2:14 a.m.
Updated July 15, 2014 at 2:15 a.m.
Natural light and the circulation of fresh air struggles to seep through a few boarded windows inside what Carol de la Cruz used to call home.
The humming of an air conditioner is silenced; there's no electricity available in the small house in the 700 block of East Warren Avenue because it's been deemed uninhabitable.
De la Cruz moved to Texas almost a decade ago with the clothing on her back and her 4-year-old son, looking to start a life - a fresh start that she's now hopeless of recreating after a suspected drunken driver smashed through her walls late Sunday night, damaging everything she owns.
It was about 10:30 p.m. when de la Cruz was changing in her bedroom. In the living room, her boyfriend and a friend were gathered around, discussing the World Cup, when a loud boom sent plumes of Sheetrock throughout the house, injuring Charles Young, 41, and tossing de la Cruz, 40, to the ground.
The crash was so severe it practically ripped the 440-square-foot living space from its structure, creating a large crack from the floor to the ceiling of a central wall.
Televisions were rocked from their places - broken on the floor - and furniture clumsily rested on the ground in piles of Sheetrock and glass.
It's utter destruction.
"I worked hard for the little things I had," de la Cruz said, stress settling across the lines in her face, her arms wrapped tightly around the turquoise blue tank top she wore. "It really makes me want to cry - it does. I put a lot of work into this house, and now it's all destroyed. I have nothing."
Victoria Police officers responded to the wreck, arresting 46-year-old Abelino Vargaz Gonzalez, of Victoria, on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he failed a field sobriety test, according to a criminal complaint. Gonzalez is being held at Victoria County Jail in lieu of a $500 bond.
The American Red Cross responded to help, providing a three-night stay at a local hotel, but de la Cruz said she can't help but wonder what day four will look like for her and her son, who is disabled.
De la Cruz said she used to work as many as three jobs at a time to make ends meet but is now a stay-at-home single mother because of the extra help her son needs.
As of Monday, Gonzalez faced driving while intoxicated charges, a Class B misdemeanor, according to court records. Detective Tanya Brown, a spokeswoman with the police department, said there aren't any updates in the case.
"I just don't understand how he can just run into our lives - damage it all up - and we'll still be here picking up the pieces," de la Cruz said. "I think he should be held accountable for what he did."
Court records don't show Gonzalez has previous DWI charges, and a first offense is punishable by three to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, loss of driver's license for up to one year and a $1,000 annual fee for three years.
After crashing his 1994 red Chevrolet Silverado into the home, Gonzalez attempted to drive away, crossing a large, grassy area before getting stuck in a few trees. De la Cruz's boyfriend and friend were able to detain Gonzalez before police arrived.
Young told the Advocate the night of the crash that he "couldn't let him go because he could have hurt someone else."
A criminal complaint filed by the arresting officer noted the truck had damage to the front and rear bumpers, "indicating it had struck several objects."
De la Cruz said she has hopes of rebuilding the home that she carefully painted bright colors and decorated with knickknacks of angels and portraits, but as a renter, she really doesn't know what her future will look like.
Attempts to reach the landlords for comment were unsuccessful.
The home is owned by the Mrs. Jesse Burns estate, according to the Victoria Central Appraisal District.
"Where do we go?" and "What do we do from here?" are two questions de la Cruz said are circling around in her mind.
"I really don't know how to start over; we don't have the money for this," de la Cruz said, shaking her head. "I hear 'be strong' and 'don't be sad,' but how can you not - this is my home."