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“She was calling for her little dog…”
An elderly Cotulla resident required extracting from the wreckage of her bedroom during the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, September 29, after the driver of a pickup truck lost control of his vehicle and crashed it into the side of her house.
Emergency responders arrived at the scene of the crash in the 700 block of La Salle Street on the west side of Cotulla shortly after midnight Wednesday morning to find a Ford F-250 truck embedded in the side of a wooden home, and heard cries for help from within, according to La Salle Sheriff’s Captain Juan Mirelez this week.
Mirelez said neighbors called 911 after they heard the crash and reported that a truck had struck a house.
La Salle Deputies Jesse Gamino and Marco Luevano, Cpl. Jose Avila, and members of the La Salle Fire Rescue & EMS were joined at the scene by troopers of the Texas Highway Patrol.
“The officers at the scene learned quickly that a woman was trapped in the house,” the captain said. “The truck had struck her bedroom wall and gone right through it. She had been awakened by the crash, but couldn’t get out of the room. She was badly shaken up by the shock of it, but her first concern was for her pet, Peanut. She was calling for her little dog, in the dark, amid all that wreckage.”
Capt. Mirelez said officers recovered the dog and assured the woman that her pet was unharmed.
“There was a risk of fire, because it appeared that fuel was leaking out of the damaged truck,” the captain said. “The deputies first on the scene succeeded in helping the woman out of her home by climbing over the truck.”
The woman was treated at the scene, reunited with her dog, and did not require hospitalization that night, the captain said.
At the wheel of the pickup truck, driver Cleo Contreras Jr., 34, of Big Wells told officers that his brakes had failed. The truck bed had been loaded with bags of corn, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The driver was still in the cab of the truck when the deputies arrived,” Capt. Mirelez said. “His speech was slurred and there was a strong odor of alcohol about him.”
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Contreras was charged with driving while intoxicated, that he was jailed shortly after the crash, and that his record shows a 2019 conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“We have determined that Contreras drove south on Medina Street at sufficient speed to go right through the FM 468 intersection and crash into the house on the other side of the road,” the sheriff’s captain said.
The damaged vehicle was removed by the Munoz Wrecker Service of Cotulla.