Mother of victim in violent DART van crash has message for drivers

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 11:31 PM

DALLAS - The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) released raw video Thursday of a DART van slamming into the back of a sedan, leading to a multi-vehicle wreck on the Dallas North Tollway.

The five-vehicle crash Friday afternoon injured two people, including 28-year-old Jose Sepulveda, a husband and father from Dallas.

"When I see the video, I think it's a miracle that my son is still with us," said Rosa Sepulveda, the victim's mother. "It's something you can't believe how lucky he is that he's still alive."

The video shows a DART paratransit van driver plowing into Sepulveda's Nissan. The Nissan was stopped in traffic on the ramp from southbound Dallas North Tollway to Interstate-35.

The collision crushed the Nissan, and then sparked a chain-reaction involving a total of five vehicles.

Sepulveda was severely injured in the crash. He broke his hip, arm, leg and 11 ribs. He remains in the intensive care unit at Parkland Hospital.

"I go [sic] in emergency and I see him," said the victim's mother. "He grabbed me and told me, 'Mom, help me. I'm in a lot of pain.'"

Investigators are still looking into the crash, but a preliminary report from DART reveals the van's driver, Willie Grant, failed to control his speed and wasn't paying attention. Grant, a paratransit operator for 11 years, is on paid administrative leave.

DART is also checking cameras inside the paratransit van to see if they provide other clues.

"I was upset and angry because [the DART driver] never tried to stop," Sepulveda's mother said. "He never paid attention, and I'm still asking why can he drive and not pay attention."

The victim's mother hopes the crash is a lesson for other drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

"They don't know the damage they do to a lot of people like my son," she said. "He has a family and his little kids depend on him. Please, pay attention."

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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