A Sacramento family's Mexican vacation took a tragic turn over the weekend.
Tomas Tijero, 13, was badly burned in a car crash during his family's trip. He was flown home Tuesday night. It was a bittersweet homecoming for the family once they landed at Sacramento International Airport.
"We were enjoying ourselves, very peacefully when all of a sudden, we heard a loud boom," Maria Tijero said. She and her three children were flown out of Mexico on two small planes through AviaMedix, a company that performs medical air evacuations.
The family of five was on a highway near the town of Culiacan, Mexico Sunday morning when a tire on their pickup truck blew out and they crashed into a tree.
"When I woke up, there was a lot of smoke coming from the truck and I ran to get my kids out," Maria Tijero said.
Mom and dad were able to get the kids out before the truck completely burned.
All three kids – ranging in age from 4 to 15 – have broken bones and burns all over their bodies.
But 13-year-old Tomas suffered the worst injuries. He was severely burned.
"He got 20-25 percent burns on his hands, a little bit on his face and mostly his right leg and some on his left leg and his abdomen as well," said Sandy Butcher, a registered nurse with AviaMedix.
Tomas was understandably tired from the three-hour flight. He doesn't remember the accident and is happy to be back home.
All the family's belongings were charred in the fire, including their passports. The children are all U.S. citizens, but it took them several days to prove their immigration status.
"I wanted my kids to be brought back so they could get the best treatment," Maria Tijero said.
She feels it's a miracle that everyone made it out alive but now wishes she would have never made the trip to Mexico.
The dad is still stuck in Mexico waiting to prove his citizenship. He did sustain minor injuries and is doing okay.
The children are being treated at Sacramento's Shriners Hospital for Children.