Melissa Perez, BHS 1998
Burbank Woman Killed, Son Critical
Los Angeles Daily News
By Ryan Carter, January 5, 2002
LOS ANGELES -- A 22-month-old Burbank boy remained in intensive care Friday after being injured in a car crash that killed his mother.
Melissa Perez, 21, was killed Tuesday, January 1, 2002 in Sun Valley when a man accused of driving under the influence of drugs crashed into her car. Perez graduated from Burbank High School in 1998.
The boy, Alex Gonzalez, suffered brusises to his lungs and brain. Doctors were monitoring some minor bleeding in his brain, hospital officials said. Troy Shaw, 33, was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter after driving his Buick Century through a red light at Glenoaks Boulevard and Sunland Avenue. The Van Nuys man broadsided a Ford Escort, killing Perez, who was in the passenger's seat.
The boy's grandmother, who was driving the Escort, was injured but later released from an area hospital.
Perez was in the process of applying to become a Burbank police officer, said Sgt. John Dilibert. He said Perez had recently inquired about training. "She'd come up and start to talk about how she really wanted to do this job," Dilibert said.
Collision Claims Another Victim
Alec Gonzalez, almost 2, dies of brain injuries following crash that killed his mother.
Los Angeles Daily News
Ryan Carter, January 9, 2002
LOS ANGELES -- Edwin Gonzalez stood inside a hospital room early Saturday morning, cradling his 23-month-old son, Alec, as the boy died.
Family members took foot and hand prints and clips of Alec's hair to remember him. A Minister performed last rites.
The respirator that had been helping keep Alec alive since a January 1 car accident was shut off Saturday morning after doctors determined the boy was brain dead. The crash in a Sun Valley interection killed Alec's mother, Melissa Perez. The boy and his mother had been living in Burbank.
A Van Nuys man, allegedly driving under the influence of drugs, apparently ran a stoplight and slammed into their car. Alec was tucked in a child seat in the back of the family's Ford Escort when Tony Shaw,33, allegedly struck the car. Alec suffered a bruised brain and lungs. "[The brain bruise] turned out to be the most critical injury, " hospital spokesman Steve Rutledge said.
Gonzalez held out hope for his son, cousin Rick Colson said. "He said, 'Look at meDaddy'," Colson said of how Gonzalez implored his son before he was taken off the breathing machine at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles.
A prayer service for the boy and his mother is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. A funeral service for both is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.
Shaw pleaded not guilty Friday in San Fernando Superior Court to gross vehicular manslaughter charge in the death of Melissa Perez, Alec's death could mean additional charges, officials said. Shaw, who was enrolled in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program at the time of the accident, was being held in county jail Monday in lieu of $215,000 bail.
The accident left the victim's family members wanting justice. "I just don't want my cousin to have died in vain for a senseless act," Colson said. Perez had hopes of becoming a Burbank Police officer. And Alec? "He was full of smiles," Colson said.