With a mother, father and three siblings killed in a horrific crash, Mexican Consulate officials in Sacramento were pulling diplomatic strings Thursday to bring grandparents from Guerrero, Mexico, to the bedside of a surviving 9-year-old boy.
Eden Miranda, a third-grader from Heritage Elementary School in Lodi, remained in critical condition Thursday at UC Davis Medical Center, two days after the rest of his family died when a speeding SUV barreled into the family pickup on a residential street in Lodi.
The accident, just before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, ultimately involved six cars and injured 12 people. The dead include Eden’s parents, farmworkers Luís Miranda, 32, and Viviana Rodriguez, 31, who was pregnant; his brothers, Irving Miranda, 12, and José Miranda, 6; and sister Stephanie Miranda, 5.
Carlos González Gutiérrez, the Mexican consul general in Sacramento, said consulate officials were working to expedite U.S. travel permissions to bring two sets of grandparents from Mexico to provide care and comfort for the hospitalized boy.
“This is particularly sad,” González said of the family, whose three youngest children, including Eden, were born in California and had U.S. citizenship. “This is a typical immigrant family that comes here to work in the field in order to provide a better future for their kids. It is devastating to know that nearly a whole family perished in this accident.”
While UC Davis officials wouldn’t elaborate Thursday on Eden Miranda’s injuries, González said, “He is in critical condition and is receiving proper care and we are optimistic that, with time, he will recover fully.”
Sharon Rummery, San Francisco spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the boy’s relatives in Mexico could be allowed to travel to the United States under an emergency provision called “humanitarian parole.”
“It’s an extraordinary measure to bring in an otherwise inadmissible person to the United States for a temporary period of time due to a very compelling emergency,” Rummery said.
Neither U.S. nor Mexican officials Thursday knew how long it would take to get any of Eden’s relatives from Mexico to his hospital bedside. Meanwhile, González said, the Mexican consulate is handling arrangements to have the bodies of the boy’s parents and siblings sent to Guerrero for burial. “That’s the family’s wish. We’re helping with that,” he said.
The tragedy was felt in Lodi, where a school district official had described the oldest child, Irving, a member of the soccer team at Lodi Middle School, as a well-liked, “delightful, good student.” The three younger Mirandas attended Heritage Elementary School.
On Thursday, as residents tweeted out “Lodi Strong” messages offering condolences for the tragedy and get-well wishes for Eden, police continued investigating the crash.
Lodi police Lt. Sierra Brucia said authorities were reviewing witness reports that the 28-year-old driver of the SUV was speeding, swerving in and out of traffic and speaking on a cellphone on South Ham Lane before plowing into vehicles at an intersection near Lodi Middle School.
“We’re still trying to determine the cause,” said Brucia, who added that police won’t elaborate on details of the crash until a news conference on Monday. “It was a very chaotic scene, a lot of moving parts. We want to make sure we get everything down and the investigation done correctly.”
He said the SUV driver, who has not been charged and whose name hasn’t been released, is hospitalized in critical condition.