SA woman's personal tragedy shines light on drowsy driving danger


by Phil Anaya / KENS 5

Posted on November 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Drowsy driving continues to be a problem across the country including Bexar County. November 3 through 10 marks National Drowsy Driving Prevention week and one local woman is making her voice heard.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, about 100,000 crashes each year are caused by a drowsy driver. That results in about 1,500 deaths.

Esmeralda Morales of San Antonio knows how serious the problem is.

“In 2009 a drowsy driver took the life of my husband in automobile accident,” said Morales.

 Morales said she doesn’t remember the accident that killed her husband Joseph, because she was also in the mangled truck that rolled several times after being hit by a drowsy driver.

“I had both of my legs broken, I had my pelvis broken, ribs, my elbow, humerus, facial fracture, some brain injuries, so I was in the hospital quite a long time,” said Morales.

For Morales, the most difficult part of her recovery was not being able to say good bye to her soul mate.

“Sadly I didn’t get to attend his funeral and that’s the most tragic thing that’s happened. I never got to say good bye to him and we were together for 27 years,” said Morales.

4 years after her husband’s death Morales is now on a mission to raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving.

In conjunction with National Drowsy Driving Prevention week and the help of the Texas Department of Transportation, that message is getting out to drivers. Throughout the week TXDOT will alert drivers of the problem with a message on Transguide signs throughout the city.

“State wide in the year of 2012 we had 182 fatalities, here in  Bexar county we had 6 so it (drowsy driving) is an issue,” said Mona Lisa Zertuche, TXDOT. “What we really need to do is bring awareness that drowsy driving is the equivalent, can be the equivalent of drinking and driving.”

“I don’t want anyone to lose their life, I don’t want anyone seriously injured and if I can save someone life just by getting the word out, I know that’s what my husband would’ve wanted,” said Morales.