HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> For the second time in recent years, a Hacienda Heights family has been devastated by a fatal tragedy. And for the second time, the community is rallying around the family to offer compassion and support.
Bertha Rosales, 42, died in a car crash while driving two of her four sons home from school in their hometown of Hacienda Heights, according to California Highway Patrol officials and friends.
Her sons Isaac, 13, and Ramon Jr., 10, suffered serious injuries in the crash, officials said. Isaac remained unconscious at a hospital with severe head injuries Wednesday, family friend Ernie Maldonado said. Ramon Jr. was making good progress in his recovery after undergoing surgery for injuries to his shoulder and elbow.
“This past Sunday was actually Bertha’s birthday,” Maldonado said.
The same family was affected by another deadly tragedy in August of 2011, when Rosales’ sister, 49-year-old Virginia Gonzales, and Gonzales’ 3-year-old son, Johnny Crowger, died in a house fire at their home in the 1700 block of Piermont Drive in Hacienda Heights.
Gonzales died while trying to rescue her son from the burning home, officials said.
In last week’s car crash, Rosales was driving a BMW sedan north on Durazno Drive, heading from a stop sign at a T-intersection, about 2:35 p.m. when the BMW collided with a Chevrolet Camaro heading west on Halliburton Road, CHP Sgt. Charles Quijada said.
The 17-year-old driver of the Camaro suffered apparently minor injuries, officials said.
No arrests or citations were initially made as the crash remained under investigation by the Santa Fe Springs office of the CHP.
“He changed a whole family,” Maldonado said of the other driver. “I feel for the other person as well.”
And just like the Hacienda Heights community came to the aid of the family following the fatal fire in 2011, local residents and organizations are once again stepping in to do what they can to ease the family’s suffering, Maldonado said.
Maldonado described Rosales as a “strong woman”
A fundraising website has been set up by the boys’ soccer club, Pasadena-based F.C. Golden State, at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/rb17/rosales-family. The website had raised more than $18,500 of a $50,000 goal to help with burial and medical expenses as of Wednesday.
“The soccer club they belong to, they’re a real close-knit club,” Maldonado said.
Other community members have also come forward to support the grieving family.
Mesa Robles Elementary School, where Isaac Rosales and Ramon Rosales Jr. both attend and their mother has previously worked as a recess monitor, has also collected funds for the family, Maldonado said.
The school has also organized a fund to help the family at Chase bank. Donations can be made via check or cashiers check, made out to Isaac Rosales or Ramon Rosales, to account No. 3024994690.
And even though the school began it’s winter break Dec. 20, “The school helped with counseling,” Maldonado said. Maldonado’s son is Isaac Rosales’ best friend.
Correspondence for the family can be sent to Mesa Robles School, 16060 Mesa Robles Drive, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745.
TOP: Bertha Rosales, 42, of Hacienda Heights, pictured on a banner on this roadside memorial at Halliburton Road and Durazno Drive, died in a car crash on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Her two sons Isaac Rosales, 13, and Ramon Rosales Jr., 10, were injured in the crash. (Courtesy)
BELOW: Bertha Rosales, 42, (right) of Hacienda Heights died in a car crash on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, at Halliburton Road and Durazno Drive i Hacienda Heights . Her two sons Isaac, 13, (left) and Ramon Jr., 10, (not pictured) were injured in the crash. Isaac remained hospitalized in critical condition with major head injuries Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014. (Courtesy)