Things That Matter

This Story of a 4-Year-Old Boy Who Lost His Family in a Thanksgiving Car Accident Is Heartbreaking

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time for eating good food and having meaningful quality time with family, but for the Montanos, it marked the most tragic day of their lives.

The Sacramento, CA family headed to the Grand Canyon to celebrate the holiday, taking Interstate 80 to get to their destination. At around 4:43 a.m. on November 20, near Eagle Lakes Road in Nevada County, California Highway Patrol officials say an allegedly drunk driver crashed into them head-on. The driver was headed the wrong way, with onlookers calling 911 to report him moments before the accident took place. Even worse, a third vehicle subsequently crashed into both cars. 

The crash immediately killed parents Brittney and Tony, both 29, and their children Marianna, 9, and Antonio Jr., 5. Meanwhile, the only surviving family member Julian Montano, 4, was left with grave injuries.

Sister-in-law Michelle Gonzalez told Fox 40 that Julian “has some extensive injuries. He broke his femur, which required surgery. He broke a rib and has some bruising on his lungs, a liver laceration, a few brain bleeds.”

Brittney’s brother Anthony Gonzalez also explained to ABC 10 that Julian will have to be in a wheelchair. He is expected to make a full recovery and has officially moved in with the Gonzalez’s. 

While Julian is slowly recovering, the process of accepting the tragedy is exceedingly difficult: Mrs. Gonzalez told ABC 10 that “he asked for his mom yesterday, which was devastating. You know, we have to have that conversation with him now that he’s a little bit more lucid and awake.”

Both the Gonzalez’s are taking care of Julian. “I know my sister would want us to take the best care that we could of [Julian]. And that’s what we’re going to do,” says Mr. Gonzalez.

Brittney Montano was a medical assistant who dreamed of becoming a registered nurse, while husband Tony loved BMX bikes and knew the whole family since childhood. Describing her immense sadness, Mrs. Gonzalez says she is “just so sick of crying” and “so sick of this feeling,” with Mr. Gonzalez telling ABC 10 it was “the worst day” of his life.

Regarding the driver responsible for the crash, Mr. Gonzalez said, “I have to forgive him. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I do. I forgive him.” Still, Mrs. Gonzalez has a different perspective, telling Fox 40, “I just hope that he has to live with this guilt for the rest of his life… I hope he rots in jail, to be totally honest.”

As per last week, Nevada County prosecutors have officially filed murder charges against Michael Scott Kelley, 32, of Antelope, citing “four counts of murder and one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.” 

The Gonzalez family has set-up a Go Fund Me page to raise funds for Julian’s recovery.

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