There is nothing more heart wrenching than the thought of losing most of your family in a single moment. This kind of sudden heartache is unimaginable to most, but it’s exactly what happened to one Tampa husband after a recent accident. John Bernal is grieving the loss of his family after his wife and two children were killed in a fatal car crash on MLK Boulevard on Wednesday night.
Bernal’s wife, Marianela Murillo, and his two young children, John Jr. and Isabell, were all killed in the impact. His teenage daughter Lina and her cousin Luisa were the only survivors of the accident. The family was on the way back from church when they were hit at a high speed in a head-on collision with Pablo Cortes III. The van immediately erupted into flames, trapping the family inside. Only the two teenage girls managed to escape.
Family members are devastated after the sudden loss. Gisela Martinez sobbed as she talked to reporters at Tampa General Hospital. “My biggest thing is, I hope they didn’t suffer. The car did catch on fire, and there were children in that car.”
Officers do not have any clear answers on the cause of the accident, but witnesses say that street racing was involved. So far, investigators only know that 22-year-old Pablo Cortes III was speeding and lost control of his car. When it collided into the Bernal family’s van, he was instantly killed on impact along with his passenger, Jolie Bartolome.
As family members gathered at the hospital to offer support to Bernal and his surviving daughter, there were many tears. “He’s suffering right now. He’s in pieces. I don’t wish this upon anybody at all. I mean, he is really in pieces,” said one family member.
Bill Winters, a personal injury attorney from Tampa, said that Bernal is living every man’s worst nightmare. “I cannot imagine the level of heartache he must be experiencing. To lose your wife and two small children all in one swift moment is absolutely incomprehensible.” As an attorney that routinely represents victims of car accidents, Winters said that tragic accidents happen all the time in Tampa, but this case is one of the most devastating he has encountered. “My heart goes out to Mr. Bernal and his daughter as they grieve the loss of a wife, mother, son, daughter, brother, and sister.”
If you have lost a loved one in a tragic car accident, legal representation may be available to help you receive compensation. While lawsuits are never a popular option, they can provide important financial assistance to help cover the cost of medical bills, burial expenses, lost income, and property damage. Tampa wrongful death attorneys specialize in helping grieving families consider their options and make an informed choice about whether or not to pursue legal action after an accident. If you’ve recently suffered from a personal injury or a loved one was killed in an accident, contact an attorney to learn more about your rights.