Four Lake Jackson teenagers injured in a two-vehicle crash have had multiple surgeries and have long recoveries ahead of them, according to family members.
Brazoswood High School students Matthew Kucera, 17, and Lainey Gutierrez, Angie Barrera and Emilia “Mia” Tschen were involved in a major crash over the weekend, according to the school’s principal.
“The students are all highly active in campus clubs, teams and organizations,” Principal Rita Pintavalle said in an emailed statement.
Brazoswood Student Council started online fundraisers for the medical bills of each student with permission from the families, she said in the statement.
To find the fundraisers, visit gofundme.com then search for each student’s name. The fundraisers located in Lake Jackson are the ones organized by Brazoswood Student Council, according to the website.
Each fundraiser has exceeded its $1,000 goal.
Tschen was driving the car that was hit while attempting to make a left turn onto Highway 35 from Spur 28 near Danbury, according to statements from the family and information from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The girl might have experienced a blind spot before pulling onto Highway 35, according to a woman who identified herself as riding in the other vehicle involved. The Ford F-350 hit the car at about 8:20 p.m. Saturday, a DPS spokesman said.
Tschen is experiencing guilt and hurt after the crash, while also undergoing surgery with more to come, her mother, Laynette Rai DeLeon, said in a statement on social media.
Each teenager went by medical helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
“I can see the whole big picture of how hundreds of little things, people or moments came together like puzzle pieces to save the lives of all four children and put them in a path of healing and recovery,” DeLeon said in the post.
The trip from Lake Jackson to Danbury was for Tschen to pick up show rabbits from a breeder in Danbury, said Juanita Kucera, Matthew Kucera’s mother. Tschen is FFA president and her son’s girlfriend, she said.
Though he suffered three skull fractures, brain swelling, a pinched artery in his neck and might permanently lose hearing in his left ear, Matthew Kucera has been able to walk, talk and eat, Juanita Kucera said.
“He’s actually doing better,” Juanita Kucera said.
The brain swelling went down to show his skull fractures should heal without surgery, she said.
Matthew Kucera is a senior and a catcher on the baseball team, she said. The family is waiting to hear how his injuries might affect his athletics, Juanita Kucera said.
Brazoswood students have made a homecoming bonfire sign for him to make sure he’s not left out at homecoming Friday, she said. The families also appreciate the help through fundraising, she said.
“You can just tell, they care about him,” Juanita Kucera said. “We’re just thankful.”
Gutierrez will have surgery to repair fractures in her face, her mother Julie Sims Valdez posted to social media, adding that she is thankful for everyone who has checked on and prayed for her daughter.
Gutierrez is on the soccer team, according to Lady Buc Soccer’s post on social media.
The teenagers and their parents are all close friends who are supporting each other and sharing progress while in the hospital, according to the social media posts.
Efforts to reach the girls’ families were unsuccessful.