NORTH MONTGOMERY COUNTY- A Houston woman was struck and killed around 6:20 p.m. Saturday night in an auto-pedestrian accident on Interstate 45 North at the Shepard Hill Rd exit.
The woman’s car broke down in the main lanes of traffic and she had walked around to the passenger side of her Toyota sedan where she opened the rear door to take out an infant when she and her car were struck by a Suburban as the driver swerved to the right to try and miss her, according to Trooper Robert Oelsner with the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol – Conroe East. Witnesses rushed to the woman to try and help her, but she had no pulse.
Deysi Zelaya, 45, of Houston was pronounced dead on the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Lanny Moriarty and Metcalf Funeral Directors transported her remains to the Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Conroe where an autopsy will be performed.
The unidentified infant was transported by Montgomery County Hospital District ground ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in The Woodlands in stable condition. DPS officials did not know the relationship between Zelaya and the baby.
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“An unknown (Ford) Expedition, which didn’t stay for a witness statement, and the Suburban that struck (Zelaya’s) car were in the right lane,” Oelsner said, “The Expedition swerved over to the left lane and the Suburban didn’t have a chance to move over in time and struck the vehicle and the woman.”
The trooper said it was likely the driver of the Expedition never knew the accident occurred.
“The woman was outside of her car on the back passenger side; the child was not secured,” Oelsner said.
Witnesses said the child was under the driver seat and contrary to initial reports, a baby carrier was also in the backseat, but was removed by rescuers before law enforcement began their investigation.
The infant’s age was unknown.
After the left front of the 1999 Chevy Suburban struck Zelaya and her vehicle, it continued traveling approximately 25 yards onto the grassy embankment beside the freeway before it was able to stop.
Oelsner said witnesses stated Zelaya’s hazard lights were flashing. Unfortunately, by the time the Expedition swerved to the left lane and the Suburban’s driver could see the disabled car, they were too close to avoid impact.
None of the five occupants in the Suburban were injured, Oelsner said.
A second crash involving three vehicles occurred in the left lane, as witnesses slammed on their brakes.
“As everybody was coming to a stop, the Chevrolet pickup slammed into the back of the Mazda and the Mazda struck an unknown vehicle and that vehicle fled the scene,” Oelsner said. “The driver of the Mazda was pretty shaken up, so she doesn’t even know what she hit.”
There were no known injuries in the second crash.
No citations were issued to any of the drivers and all witnesses concurred that everyone involved was traveling at around the posted speed limit.
Saturday night traffic was stopped for hours, making Interstate 45 a virtual parking lot until DPS could clear one lane and allow it to begin moving.