OAKLAND, Calif. - An Oakland family that suffered injuries in a horrific crash involving a suspected drunk driver earlier this month received a visit from community leaders who came bearing gifts.
On Friday, the Highway Patrol posted a photo with the seven children of the Uribe family, all who were in a Honda Odyssey minivan that was T-boned by a speeding Pontiac G6 in the city’s Fruitvale District on Sept. 9.
An Oakland family involved in a crash with a suspect DUI driver received a special visit from the CHP and other community members on Sept. 17, 2021.
The photo showed the kids, at least two still in arm slings, being visited by Oakland CHP Officer David Arias along with members of the non-profit community group Makin' Moves. An official from Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo’s office, which represents the Fruitvale District, was also there. As part of the special visit, they delivered stuffed animals, Nerf guns and other toys for the kids, as well as three child car seats for the family.
"Their eyes lit up. They were so happy and grateful. It was awesome," Officer Arias told KTVU.
"BRAVE LITTLE WARRIORS," was what he called the Uribe kids in a post on Facebook as he shared the photo of the visit.
The crash the children were in was caught on surveillance video. The frightening images showed the Pontiac, traveling at 90 miles an hour, according to police, running a red light before slamming into the minivan.
Bystanders rushed in to help, as they pulled the children from the van.
Oakland police said two of the children weren't wearing seat belts. A girl and a boy were ejected from the vehicle.
"It's a serious miracle that those kids were in such good condition as they were," Arias said, adding, "I spoke with the girl that got ejected. She had a scratch and a bruise... and that’s it."
The officer stressed the importance of properly securing kids in vehicles with adequate child restraint systems, a message delivered through the gift of the new car seats. "It honestly saves lives," he said.
Arias said that he’s been a paramedic for more than 12 years, and he’s never seen or heard of anybody walking away with such minimal injuries when ejected from a vehicle like that. He called it a "miracle from god."
The children’s aunt, Keren Martinez, who was driving the minivan, also described the outcome of the collision as a miracle. In an interview with KTVU’s Henry Lee last Monday she said, "Emotionally, really bad and my body, I have a lot of pain," but noted, "It could be worse."
She said that her boyfriend and her sister were in the van as well and also not seriously injured.
As for the suspect, he was arrested after he tried to run from the scene but detained by onlookers who held on to him until police arrived. He faced charges of driving under the influence, hit-and-run, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended license.
Councilmember Noel Gallo called for increased vigilance when it came to keeping streets safe.
"Really, we need to do a better job protecting our children and families," Gallo said, adding, "Many of our families are paying the high price by the fact we’re not enforcing the laws that we have in place."
In addition to helping with donations to cheer up the Uribe kids, Gallo was also involved in planning a fundraiser benefiting the family. On Sept. 25 the councilmember's office was set to join community partners for a car wash at Fremont High School on Foothill Boulevard in Oakland. Proceeds will go toward helping the Uribe family with medical expenses, organizers said.
Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo and community partners plan to hold a car wash fundraiser for the Uribe family, who police say was hit by a DUI suspect on Sept, 9, 2021.