SAN ANGELO, TX — Elisa Tambunga held a small Teddy bear when she met me. At 27, she is the ultimate victim of the the crash on the evening of March 13 when a coyote hauling a pickup truck full of illegal migrants slammed into her mother’s Ram truck at the intersection of I-10 frontage road and TX-163 in Ozona. In that senseless crash, Elisa lost her daughter, Emilia Tambunga, and mother, Maria Tambunga.
Elisa said after getting a haircut for her daughter that morning, she dropped Emilia off to stay the day with her mom, Maria, so she could finish some school work during the rest of the day. She received a call from a friend at around 8:30 p.m. informing her to get home immediately. On her way home, she drove up on the crash at I-10 and TX-163.
“I recognized my mom’s truck and my heart just sank,” she said in an exclusive interview that will be aired on the LIVE! Daily News Show on Friday, March 24.
Elisa said the town of Ozona has opened up their loving arms to her and her family. Maria’s husband and Elisa’s father, Emilio Tambunga, has been her backbone throughout the tragedy. Emilio is a retired deputy sheriff in Crockett County where Ozona is the county seat.
Unfortunately, the family has no insurance. Elisa’s sister, Virginia “Gin” Jespersen, and brother-in-law, Tim Jespersen, have been caring for their family. Tim and Gin have become Elisa’s biggest advocates. The Jespersens live in San Angelo.
The impact of the tragedy in Ozona stretches across the Concho Valley. On the evening of March 13, the Texas DPS said that Rassian Natery Comer, 22, of Bossier City, Louisiana, refused to stop after being clocked by the trooper traveling above the speed limit. The Tambunga’s said they learned that the attempted stop happened in adjacent Pecos County. Comer was carrying 11 illegal migrants who had purportedly crossed into the U.S. across the porous U.S.-Mexico border. Video obtained through Comer’s Facebook page where he was live streaming his chase show him hitting speeds of at least 105 mph.
For some reason, while racing from the law at high speeds headed eastbound, Comer decided to exit I-10 at the TX-163 exit. DPS said that Comer ran the stop light at the intersection of TX-163.
TX-163 is the main north-south artery through Ozona.
Below: The crash scene that Elisa Tambunga drove up on on the evening of March 13, 2023:
Meanwhile, Maria Tambunga, who went by “Coke,” and her granddaughter were on the way to get some ice cream. Maria and granddaughter were driving across the frontage road in her Ram pickup at about the time Comer’s Ram pickup ran the light and slammed into the Tambungas, killing Maria and 7-year-old Emilia.
Charges are pending for Comer who was life flighted to Brooke Army Medical Center. We called the Crockett County District Clerk’s office Thursday afternoon and nothing was yet filed there on Comer. The Tambunga’s have learned that Comer has survived his injuries and DPS has told them that Comer will be charged for multiple crimes.
Elisa said the entire tragedy is senseless. She put the ultimate blame for it on bad border security policy by the federal government.
Meanwhile the family is picking up the pieces of their lives and has to bury two who all loved. A GoFundMe has been set up to aid the family with expenses during this time of need. We verified that all proceeds will benefit Elisa Tambunga. You can donate here.
The full interview with Elisa Tambunga will air on the LIVE! Daily News Show Friday afternoon, March 24, 2023.