A joyous occasion turned to tragedy on Monday in Veracruz when a drunk driver plowed into a crowd of people at a baby shower, injuring eight and causing the expectant mother to lose her unborn daughter at 39 weeks of pregnancy.
On Monday afternoon, Esmeralda Muñoz and her husband invited friends and family to their home in Coatzacoalcos to celebrate the imminent birth of their second child, a girl the couple had decided to call Yazmin. They had already begun stockpiling diapers for the little girl and had even picked out the outfit she would wear home from the hospital.
Guests gathered on the cordoned-off street outside the home which had been decorated with pink and white balloons to mark the occasion. A gift table had been set up with Yazmin’s name spelled out in large pink letters. A clown was hired to entertain the children.
The peaceful gathering was shattered around 6 p.m. when a 54-year-old man driving a pickup truck drove head-on into the crowd at a high rate of speed, running over at least seven people and killing a dog before ramming into a parked car where the vehicle came to a stop.
Neighbors were able to detain the driver, who appeared to be drunk, until police arrived.
Six women and a child under the age of 8 were taken to the hospital by emergency workers who encountered a chaotic scene littered with the injured, an overturned stroller and broken chairs and tables the truck left in its wake.
“The person came, he let himself come at us at full speed and if it had not been for the white car he would have killed us, he would have taken out all of us,” the clown told a reporter.
Although Esmeralda Muñoz was not directly hurt in the incident, the shock of what happened to friends and loved ones took its toll.
The following morning she began to experience abdominal pains and was taken to the hospital where Yazmin was pronounced dead just days before she was due to be born.
Later that day, Yazmin’s body was turned over to her family and a wake was held at the home where 24 hours earlier they were celebrating her upcoming birth. A tiny white casket was placed on a table adorned with gladiolas while Muñoz remained hospitalized.
Her mother fears that the driver will soon be released from jail because direct injuries from the crash were relatively minor.
“They told us that the man was going to get out in 48 hours and was only going to pay for injuries that could be verified. I have my other 11-year-old daughter bedridden, she can’t even move,” she said.
The driver, also a neighbor of the Muñoz family, was scheduled to appear before a judge on Thursday.