Family of woman killed in alleged drunk driving crash shares message to community

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A wife, mother and active member in the community died after a 13-day battle in the hospital with injuries suffered from a crash earlier this month.

As KTSM 9 News previously reported, 45-year-old Claudia Del Hierro’s vehicle was struck by an alleged drunk driver, according to the El Paso Police Department.

According to investigators, the suspected drunk driver, 74-year-old Frederick Martinez, was behind Del Hierro’s vehicle when he failed to brake or slow down. Police said Martinez crashed into the rear side of the vehicle that Del Hierro was driving. The collision caused Martinez’s vehicle to roll over, officials said. Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Del Hierro’s family mourned her and remembered her life.

“There’s no words to describe my mom. She was the most beautiful person that touched the face of this earth,” Junior Gomez, Del Hierro’s son said.

Gomez said she was well-loved and active in the community. Del Hierro worked at the EPCC Valle Verde campus and was involved in the ACTS El Paso chapter.

“She was the rock to this family and brought everyone together and we just miss her and love her,” Gomez said.

Gomez said his mother fought for her life in the hospital for 13 days, but the injuries were too severe.

“My mom just kept fighting every single day, her faith was so strong in God that he was with her those 13 days, but we couldn’t see her like that no more, so we told her go be with my grandma and grandpa and family members up there,” Gomez said.

The family said Del Hierro also taught a Holy Communion class virtually. Her students celebrated their communion in her honor.

“My mom was looking forward to this everyday, she would talk about it ever since they gave her the date,” Gomez said.

Hector Gomez, Del Hierro’s husband, said they were high school sweethearts.

There’s no words that I can say about what this man did to our family,” Hector Gomez said. “He completely shattered it.”

Hector Gomez said due to COVID-19 cases, he and his family were unable to visit her in the hospital and had to only communicate with her through the phone.

“This pandemic really hurt me real bad because I couldn’t be there for my wife next to her everyday.”

However the family also shared happy memories of their wife and mother. Gaby Gomez, Del Hierro’s daughter, reminisced on times her mom supported her as a cheerleader at UTEP.

“Since I would get tickets for the football game, she’d always be there and take pictures and yell for me and it was really nice,” Gaby Gomez said.

According to EPPD Lt. Steven Schmidt, who oversees the department’s Special Investigations unit, speed and alcohol are two of the most common contributing factors in deadly crashes in El Paso.

As KTSM previously reported, a 19-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning for driving more than 100 mph on I-10, and suspected of being drunk. This was just 10 days after the crash involving Del Hierro.

Her family sends a message to the community in light of her death:

“I just want to give a message to people who want to drink and drive, think twice before you do it because you don’t know how hard we’re going through this pain,” Hector Gomez said.

The family created a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses. To donate, CLICK HERE.

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