The mother of a 16-year-old who was injured after a fatal crash in Imperial Valley that left 13 people dead traveled from Guerrero, Mexico, to visit her son hospitalized in San Diego.
María Félix Martínez González along with her son, Santiago Angel Martínez González, 11, traveled from Mexico to San Diego on a humanitarian visa to visit José Eduardo Martínez González, 16, in a San Diego hospital who was injured in the Tuesday crash, and Telemundo 20 spoke exclusively to the family.
"I'm happy because my brother's fine and he handled both surgeries. I'm happy he's OK," Santiago told Telemundo 20.
Santiago mentioned he has been unable to enter the hospital to visit his brother but has been in contact with him by video call.
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Deadly Imperial County Crash
José Eduardo Martínez González was one of 25 immigrants traveling in an SUV on State Route 115 in Holtville, a few miles from the U.S.- Mexico Border in the Imperial Valley before it was struck by a semi-truck hauling two trailers.
"At first, I felt sad when I heard about the crash. They told my mom that he was going to be OK, but she started crying. She hardly ate, and she was sad until we came and she saw he was OK. I noticed her calmer," Santiago said.
Telemundo 20 also spoke to the hospitalized minor after his two surgeries.
"Shortly before we entered the United States, we got in the car, and were driving in the normal four-lane, but from there I don't remember anything else," José Eduardo Martínez González said.
He mentioned that he was not afraid to cross the border.
"I was going to go to work [in the U.S.] to help my brother study and get my mom out of work," the 16-year-old said. "I never imagined that was going to happen."
María Félix Martínez González said she only got her humanitarian visa approved for 30 days but hopes it can be extended because the doctors said José would be staying in the hospital for up to six weeks and would be needing physical therapy.
"I don't want to leave my son alone. I want to be with him," she said.
José's final destination was in Utah to stay and work with relatives. Maria said José was fleeing the poverty her family was suffering. She is a single mom and was working hard to provide for her sons.
After the crash, the Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation to determine if the SUV was tied to a human smuggling operation. On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol confirmed via surveillance footage that the Expedition, along with a Chevy Suburban SUV carrying 19 people, had breached the border through a gap in the fence about 30 miles east of the crash site.