DALLAS, Texas - The man accused of running over a young mother in a laundromat parking lot apologized from jail and called the crash ‘a freak accident.’ But the woman’s family isn’t buying it.
Since Maricruz Gonzalez was killed on Sunday, her family and others have wondered how something like that could happen. The man accused in her death blamed a stuck floor mat.
Juan Carlos Velasquez, 47, remained behind bars on Thursday, a place he's been before. Surveillance video from Sunday evening captured him in an Oak Cliff parking lot careening in reverse and slamming into a parked SUV.
“It was a freak accident. It scared me,” Velasquez explained in a jailhouse interview. “I was trying to reverse out, reverse normally. And when I try to hit the break, it shot out on me. And I turned the wheel because I knew it was going to crash, and it shot out some more.”
The 23-year-old mother had just arrived at the laundromat with her husband and 1-year-old daughter. She happened to be walking by with a laundry cart when she was pinned between the two vehicles.
“It was the floor mat. The floor mat was caught up somewhere in... it was the floor mat,” the suspect said.
Velasquez says he'd never had trouble like that before with his 2001 Yukon.
“I don't want people to think I'm a monster, that I did this on purpose, that I was drunk or something. Nothing like that,” he said.
Velasquez is charged with causing an accident resulting in death. Surveillance video clearly shows him trying to leave the scene. Witnesses chased him down.
“I got scared when I seen some feet right there, ma'am,” he explained. “I wish I wouldn't have ran. I'm sorry I ran. I'm sorry to the family.”
Gonzalez's sister, Yolanda, says his apology offers little comfort and won't sooth a now motherless 1- year-old.
“She was just calling mama mama, and she was crying a lot,” Yolanda recalled.
Family members say Gonzalez's husband is overwhelmed with grief after witnessing his wife taken in such a sudden horrific way and feels forgiveness is out of their hands.
“God is the only one who can forgive somebody,” Yolanda said. “I just leave everything to God.”
In addition to mourning their loss, the family says they are doing everything they can to bring Gonzalez's 8-year-old son who lives in Mexico to North Texas so he can say a final goodbye to his mom.