Hit and run victim who died during son's birth remembered

Joe Leal, Jr. passed away August 1st, 2017 from injuries sustained in a hit & run wreck days earlier. Doctors kept him on life support long enough for his newborn son to be photographed in his dad's arms.

SAN ANTONIO - With a chalkboard, tiny blue shoes and an ultrasound picture, Joe Leal Jr. and his wife Sara Todd proudly announced news about their growing family.

Baby Jaxson came into this world on July 30th, 2017. It was one day after doctors pronounced Leal brain dead.

“It's hard,” Todd said while crying.

It was on the morning of July 28th, 2017 when police said a hit and run driver left Leal critically injured on the West Side.

“I was watching the news while at work and I saw the motorcycle accident and my heart just sunk,” Todd explained. “I just had a feeling."

Doctors placed the soon-to-be father of three on life support. They kept him alive just long enough for Baby Jaxson to be placed in his arms.

“It meant everything to me for Jaxson to meet his dad at least once," she said.

Leal passed away the very next day.

“He donated his eyes, kidneys, heart... everything but his lungs," she said.

That brings us to our CASH FOR KINDNESS surprise.

“All the kids were just like, ‘Oh my God!’” Todd explained about a surprise her family received. “And then the lights started."

A local truck club called the San Antonio Tundra Crew rallied behind Todd and her children after they learned about the tragedy. They initially donated a $500 HEB gift card around Christmas time. Then crew members came together to celebrate her son Jeremiah’s 12th birthday in February by holding a Tundra truck parade outside her home.

“They just started singing Happy Birthday,” she told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf. “Then everyone from the kindness of their hearts just started opening their wallets and just handed my son money from their own pockets."

To show them how much their kindness meant to Todd, she worked with Wolf to setup a meeting with some Tundra crew members near the accident site. They were told the family was holding a balloon release for their late loved one and wanted them to be a part of the ceremony.

That’s where Wolf popped out with a camera to share news of the nomination.

"Nice to see you all," Wolf said while shaking their hands.

Abel Gonzales was one of the San Antonio Tundra Crew members on hand. He’s vice president of the group.

“I can't thank you all enough,” Todd told him and the group’s treasurer. “I can't repay you all for what you did for Jeremiah and Jaxson and all of us. So I just really wanted to thank you all for San Antonio to see. Losing their dad, it was honestly like right here down the road.”

Gonzales, who was visibly shocked, told her, “You know all you have to do is call."

Wolf asked him if the crew, which touts giving back to the community in a variety of ways, had ever been thanked in this way.

“We're very humbled,” he responded. “We are very fortunate in our group to be able to drive what we do and do the things we do. And to be able to give back to families, and not just 1 family but as many families as we can, it's very humbling for someone to want to give back to us."

Todd’s son, who received the Tundra parade on his birthday, was also on hand for the surprise.

“Thank you so much!” Jeremiah said to Gonzalez while turning to give him a hug.

“You're welcome!" Gonzales said with a smile.

Wolf turned to the Gonzales and handed him a stack of money on behalf of Fox San Antonio.

“$500, $600, $700 $800, $900, $1,000,” Gonzales counted. “Oh man! We're deeply honored. I couldn't do it myself. We're deeply honored."

The Tundra Crew plans to donate half of the CASH FOR KINDNESS money to the 100 Club of San Antonio.

Gonzales said their group tries to always back San Antonio police and firefighters.

Click here to nominate someone you know for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.


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