2nd passenger dies after head-on collision; both victims en route to grand opening

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Oct. 3, 2010 at 5:03 a.m.

A passenger involved in a head-on collision Saturday in Gonzales County was pronounced dead Sunday morning at University Hospital in San Antonio.

Victoria resident Martha Salazar, 41, a Lasik coordinator at the Victoria Eye Clinic and active member of Faith Family Church, was pronounced dead at 4:09 a.m. Sunday by an emergency doctor at University Hospital.

"Martha was a beautiful person inside and out and was always willing to help people any way she could," Salazar's friend, Melissa De Leon, said Sunday.

De Leon befriended Salazar at Faith Family Church more than a year ago and said her family was saddened to hear the news of her friend's passing.

"My daughter cried when she heard the news. It's a very sad day," De Leon said.

Salazar was traveling to Austin early Saturday morning with Victoria Eye Clinic optometrist Brian James Wilson, 44, to assist the doctor with the grand opening celebration of his newest business venture, Punch Gym.

"My mom was going up to help Dr. Wilson with a grand opening for a gym in Austin," Salazar's 19-year-old son, Gabriel Gonzales, said. "She worked at the eye clinic, but she was also a licensed massage therapist and she was going to do some massage therapy there."

Wilson and Salazar were driving northbound on U.S. 183 in Wilson's 2009 Chevy pickup when they collided with a 2003 Ford pickup heading southbound on the same highway. The trucks collided at 6:45 a.m..

The two men traveling in the Ford pickup, 25-year-old driver Ruben Rodriguez Reyna of Mission, and 23-year-old Jose Reyna of Seguin, were critically injured and transported to University Hospital.

Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 3 Judge Eulogio Melchor.

Because Wilson does not have any family locally, his longtime friend Connie St Clair, who is also the Victoria Eye Clinic CEO, is assisting with funeral arrangements

"We're just trying to do what Brian would have wanted us to do, and right now we know he would have wanted us to take care of his mom."

Wilson's mother will travel Monday to Victoria.

St Clair said a funeral will be held for Wilson later this week.

As of Sunday, Texas Department of Public Safety officials did not know what caused the accident.

A memorial service will be held for Salazar at Faith Family Church later in the week, with funeral services to follow at Rosewood Funeral Chapel.

"We're doing good. We're trying to stay strong," Gonzales said of his family.

On Friday, Gonzales was sworn into the Marine Corps, but he said his orders will likely be delayed until his mother is laid to rest.



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