A 9-year-old boy who died in a four-vehicle crash Wednesday on U.S. Highway 550 has been identified as Dominic Allen.
Dominic was riding with his mother, Angelica Hernandez, and younger brother, Asher Mannin, in a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SUV. The family told The Durango Herald on Thursday that Angelica is at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington suffering from brain trauma, and Asher is at Denver Children’s Hospital suffering from two broken legs and a bruised and torn liver.
“We are praying for a full recovery, but the neurosurgeon said people who suffer this amount of brain injury usually don’t recover completely. But he said he believes she will recover more completely than not,” said Gustavo Mondragon, an uncle of Hernandez.
Margaret Mondragon, Angelica’s aunt, said her niece is squeezing a nurse’s hand when prompted, which is a positive sign. But Angelica faces weeks of therapy, they said.
Asher, 6, was flown Wednesday to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Gustavo Mondragon said the family expects he will be released Sunday, if all goes well.
“He’s a tough little dude. I told him: ‘Jesus loves you, and you’re a tough dude.’ And he said, ‘Yes, I am,’” said Gustavo Mondragon, who was with Asher about half an hour before he was airlifted to Children’s Hospital after the crash.
The crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday at Juniper Road and U.S. Highway 550, near Sunnyside Elementary School.
Colorado State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll said a Durango School District 9-R bus had stopped to drop off students when it was rear-ended. Two SUVs were stopped behind the bus when the driver of a Ford F-550 rear-ended one of the SUVs. The truck pushed the two SUVs into the bus, Driscoll said.
Authorities gave incorrect ages of the victims Tuesday.
The driver of the Ford F-550 was identified as Matt Kibel, 31, of La Plata County.
Driscoll said the State Patrol will recommend a charge of careless driving leading to death against Kibel; he is not suspected of speeding or using alcohol.
Michael Latham, Rachel Latham and four children, all of La Plata County, were in a 2004 Suburban stopped behind the Mercedes. They did not suffer serious injuries.
Twenty-two people on board the bus, including 20 students from Sunnyside Elementary, a parent and a bus driver, were also unharmed, Driscoll said.
The students were taken to Florida Mesa Elementary School to be reunited with their parents.
The highway was closed for about 3½ hours, Driscoll said.
Two bank accounts have been established to help the Mannin-Hernandez family.
The family prefers donations be made to accounts at First National Bank of Durango and Bank of Colorado in Durango. Checks given to First National Bank should be made out to: The Mannin-Hernandez Family Benefit Account.
Checks made out to the Bank of Colorado should be made out to: Gustavo Mondragon for the Benefit of the Mannin-Hernandez Family.
Also, a gofundme account has been set up online to help the Mannin-Hernandez family pay medical bills and the funeral expenses for Dominic.
firstname.lastname@example.org A previous version of this story gave an incorrect last name for Dominic Allen. Also, Margaret Mondragon is Angelica’s aunt. The children’s ages have been corrected based on information from the family.