Local News

12-Year-old Injured, Parents, Sisters Killed In Wayne County Accident

Posted February 22, 2004

— A 12-year-old girl was the lone survivor of a car crash that killed the rest of her family Saturday.

She escaped with her life only because complete strangers pulled her from the wreckage just moments before it exploded into flames.

The girl, identified as Sandy Maldonado, was riding with her parents and two younger sisters in their 1994 Ford just outside of Mount Olive. Investigators said her father, Alfonso Reynoso Puebla, ran a stop sign at the intersection of Indian Springs and Kelly Springs roads, and drove into the path of an oncoming 2001 Mitsubishi Galant driven by Juanita Lee of Mount Olive.

The Ford flipped over and caught on fire. Puebla, 37, his wife, Alfonsina Maldonado, 30, and daughters Blanca Maldonado, 7, and Alejandra Maldonado, 6, were killed.

Paul Robinson and his wife, Victoria, saw the wreck and rushed to help. Another passerby, off-duty Wayne County EMS worker Eris Jones, helped Paul Robinson pull Sandy Maldonado to safety.

Robinson said he heard the girl calling for help and noticed she was stuck. He said he knew there was not much time to get her out, and hot flames and a strong wind made the rescue difficult.

Jones reportedly had to break a window to pull the girl out.

Witnesses said the car became completely engulfed in flames less than a minute after the girl was pulled free. She was taken to a Wayne County hospital with broken bones but was expected to be OK.

Investigators said Lee did not have serious injuries.

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