Tejano star still critical
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Grammy-award winning Tejano star Emilio Navaira is in the hospital in critical condition after his tour bus crashed Sunday.
The wreck also put members of his band Rio in the hospital. Now police are trying to figure out how the accident at Loop 610 and the Southwest Freeway happened. The band had just performed Saturday night at a club in southeast Houston.
The mangled metal and glass hardly looked like the front of a tour bus, the aftermath of a horrible crash that left fan Manuel Ponce fearing the worst.
"We're thinking the worst, that everyone got killed or got hurt real serious," he told Eyewitness News.
The Bellaire Police Department says eight people, including Navaira, were in the bus. The Grammy Award winning singer was ejected suffering severe head injuries.
"About 5am, the bus was driving up to 610 and the driver lost control, fell asleep or something, and hit the barrels," said Sgt. Daniel Kerr of the Bellaire Police Dept.
The bus slammed into a freeway barricade before coming to a stop.
"I believe alcohol was involved. As to what extent, I don't know yet," Sgt. Kerr said.
Besides the possibility of alcohol, investigators will also look into how fast the bus was going and whether fatigue played a role. Navaira and his band played a concert at Hallabaloos in the city of South Houston just hours before the accident.
"He puts on a good show, when you go to listen to his music, he makes you feel good to go see him and his brother sing at the clubs," Ponce said.
Ponce and other fans are just hoping Navaira can perform again and soon.
"We'll be praying for him, hopefully all the fans will be praying for him, this tragedy on Easter," he said.
With Emilio in the hospital, Tejano music fans are hoping he gets better and makes it out OK. They're already showing their support.
Fans around the world have been sending their support to the singer through prayer. Many fans have been showing support through a Houston-based Tejano Internet radio station called bnetradio.com.
More than 30,000 listeners called the station with their thoughts on the singer that means a lot to the Tejano community.
"Just taking calls and taking out time out," said DJ Roland Martinez. "You are supposed to be spending time with your family, but it's like family right here."
"What he means to us and why we are in shock and really hurt by this accident is because Emilio, like Selena, has really crossed over," said DJ Roy Ramos.
The station just received a copy of Emilio's CD yesterday and were playing it all day Sunday.
This is how things stand right now after the crash. Emilio and five other band members remain in the hospital. Two other members of Rio, who were in the hospital, have been treated and released.
Emilio is a San Antonio native who studied music at Southwest Texas State, now called Texas State University. He formed the band Emilio y Grupo Rio with his brother Raul in 1989.
The band has released more than a dozen gold and platinum records and won a Grammy in 2003. Emilio performed at the rodeo's Go Tejano Day in 2007.
Doctors at Memorial Hermann Hospital plan to hold a news conference Monday 10am.
- SEND US YOUR EMILIO NAVAIRA PHOTOS, or email us if you were at last night's concert.
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