El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The family of Chapin High School football player Elijah Perales is once again mourning the loss of a family member Saturday, after Perales' grandmother, Belinda Alma Vasquez passed away from injuries sustained in the violent car accident last Saturday near Vega, TX.
Perales' family were traveling the icy Texas roads early Saturday morning on their way to see Chapin play Amarillo High School in the Texas High School football playoffs in Amarillo, TX. Black ice on the roadway contributed to the accident, which involved nine semi-trucks and two passenger vehicles.
Hector Perales, Elijah's dad, was killed at the scene of the accident. Perales was a fourth grade teacher at Pasodale Elementary in the Ysleta Independent School District. He had also been a substitute teacher at Hart Elementary in El Paso's Segundo Barrio before being hired at Pasodale Elementary.
The family's Chevrolet van was traveling eastbound on I-40, when a truck lost control in front of the family, causing a multi-vehicle pile-up. Guillermo Vasquez, Elijah's grandfather was behind the wheel at the time of the crash and was last listed in critical condition at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo. The other occupants in the van were Elijah's uncle, William Vasquez and Elijah's mother and younger brother, Alma and Noah Perales.
Earlier in the week, the Perales family sent a statement to NewsChannel 9, in part, thanking the Chapin High School Principal, Chapin Booster Club, Amarillo High School Booster Club, Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo and the physicians and nurses at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.
"Hector truly was a great man. He was a loving father and husband, teacher, and friend to the many people whose lives he touched." said his brother, Richard Perales. "All family members who have children that participate in sports know of the love we have to see them compete, at times traveling through inclement weather regardless if anyone else shows up to watch them play. Hector was one of those parents."
The family says that in leiu of flowers, an endowment will be set up to assist the children at Pasodale Elementary, where Perales taught. "There is no question, assisting the children in need in any way possible would have been what he wanted." said Richard Perales.
The endowment fund has yet to be set up, but the Perales family is directing anyone that would like to assist to donate funds to donate to the Chapin HS Booster Club - FirstLight FCU Acct #9644933, Alma Perales' co-workers have also set up a fund at GECU in the name of Alma Perales - GECU Acct #8338655.