NEWS

New mum’s agony: My hubby was killed as we drove to give birth

A terrible tragedy meant Alyssa saw one life end as another was just beginning

A terrible tragedy meant Alyssa Sandoval, 23, saw one life end as another was just beginning. Here, she tells the story in her own words.

Gently shaking my husband awake, I knew it was time.

‘My contractions have started,’ I whispered to Ricky, 22.

Leaving him to get up, I went to tell my mum, so she knew she was in charge of our three-year-old twins, Isabelle and Annabelle.

Meeting Ricky in the kitchen, he was grabbing an energy drink and a banana.

‘So I can stay up with you,’ he grinned.

Setting off in the car, it was 1am on November 12, 2018, and Ricky was beside himself with excitement.

‘I can’t wait to have Daisy,’ he smiled. He’d already picked our bub’s name.

Suddenly, bump!

We hit a pothole and I was jerked awkwardly against the car door.

‘Sorry,’ he said, reaching over to rub my belly.

‘It’s okay,’ I told him. ‘Just be careful. The last thing we need is a car accident.’

Then SMASH!

Pain enveloped me, before my body went numb as I blacked out.

The crashed car
What was left of our car

Waking up a few minutes later, I realised I was upside down in my seat.

Ricky, I panicked, looking to my side.

Out cold, a trickle of blood ran down his face.

I tried to reach for my phone but my seatbelt was jammed and I couldn’t get it.

‘Help us!’ I screamed.

Checking Ricky for a pulse, I could feel it pumping away. I held his hand until
a firefighter appeared 15 minutes later.

As my window was smashed, I noticed that Ricky’s breathing was silent.

‘Ricky?’ I whispered, reaching to check his pulse again, but I couldn’t find it.

‘Ricky!’ I cried.

Another slow 15 minutes went by until the emergency services started tugging at me.

‘I can get out,’ I moaned, managing to roll out of our overturned car.

‘We’re going to have our baby,’ I managed, as I was bundled towards an ambulance, glancing back at the car wreck in utter shock.

Nobody seemed to be helping Ricky. They’ll get him to hospital afterwards, I thought, but deep down I knew what it meant.

Alyssa and Ricky

At the hospital, it took 10 minutes to find Daisy’s heartbeat and then they had to get her out.

My body was a mass of bruises and pain, my head a ball of questions I didn’t want answers to.

As they put me under general anaesthetic for an emergency C-section, the darkness came as a welcome relief.

Being wheeled into a ward a few hours later, I was told Daisy was out safely.

‘The father didn’t make it,’ I overheard a doctor telling someone as we went by.

Hearing that, my heart nose-dived.

This couldn’t be. We’d just had a baby.

That morning, my room was full of family members but nobody could, or would, tell me anything, until at last, my uncle Anthony confirmed my deepest fear.

‘I’m sorry, Ricky didn’t make it,’ he whispered, hugging me as I sobbed.

With Daisy by my side, it should have been one of the best days of my life but it was the worst.

Holding her for the first time, tears coursed down my face. She was the spitting image of her daddy.

‘He would have loved you so much,’ I said.

The news got worse as police explained the accident was a hit and run allegedly caused by a drunk driver.

The driver had run a red light and hit our car, making it swivel 360 degrees and roll twice before leaving us overturned in a ditch.

The twins visiting Ricky's grave
The twins visiting Ricky’s grave
Isabelle and Annabelle with Daisy-Ricky
Isabelle and Annabelle with Daisy-Ricky

The police said he and his passenger then fled the scene.

‘How could they have left us there?’ I asked, horrified, remembering my desperate screams.

Life after that was agony.

I went home to my girls a few days later, introducing them to baby Daisy-Ricky.

I couldn’t tell them what had happened though, and for weeks I pretended Ricky was at work.

‘Is Daddy ever coming home from work?’ little Isabelle asked one night.

‘No darling,’ I had to admit. ‘He’s in the sky with the
stars now.’

I felt my heart break all over again as she sobbed, ‘But I love my daddy.’

I couldn’t even tell them the bad people responsible were locked up. Alan Guzman, 19, and Mario Ortega, 29, were identified as suspects but are thought to have fled the country.

Suspect Alan Guzman
Suspect Alan Guzman

My life, which was once so bright, was drained of colour and joy as I struggled, a single mum to three.

But as the months went on, I started picking up the pieces. I had to for my girls.

Having never seen a shooting star before, I started seeing them all the time and I took them as a sign Ricky was still close.

I’ve been campaigning against drink driving too.

I know how lucky it was that Daisy survived.

The firefighters have since told me they didn’t expect any survivors in our car wreck, so Ricky must’ve been my angel that day too.

I’ll struggle, but I know
I have to go on. I was given a second chance that day.

I need to live my life for Ricky now and give our three girls enough love from both of us. ●

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