Springfield Middle student fighting for life after crash injures 9 family members

“All we say is we forgive this person for what they did.”
Gabriel Barrera Jr. and eight of his family members were hurt in a two-car rollover accident on Springfield Highway north of Goodlettsville on Friday night.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A 13-year-old Springfield Middle School student is in critical condition with head injuries at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Gabriel Barrera Jr. and eight of his family members were hurt in a two-car rollover accident at the intersection of Springfield Highway and Baker Station Road around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

James Sontay Perez, Barrera’s cousin, said the teen has swelling on the brain that makes surgery impossible.

“They’re going to test his brain, and if they don’t hear any response, they’re going to pronounce him brain dead, which basically means he’s not going to make it,” Sontay Perez said.

Barrera’s brother, Santos Sontay, was also in the accident. He had surgery for head injuries that was successful, Sontay Perez said. He is still in critical condition, but he is responsive.

“Right now, we just want him to get better,” Sontay Perez said.

Barrerra was supposed to graduate from Innovation Academy on Tuesday and try out for the Springfield High School soccer team in the coming weeks.

“He has a Polaroid camera, and he just recently got into take pictures,” Sontay Perez said. “He’d go to car meets, take pictures of cars with my brother. They were both car guys, you know, soccer play and car guys.”

Barrerra, Sontay and two other passengers were ejected from the vehicle during the crash. A report from Metro Police said neither of the two were wearing a seatbelt at the time.

The driver of the Nissan Murano that hit the family’s Toyota Highlander got out and ran away, according to police.

Metro Police said they found evidence of both alcohol and drug involvement inside the Nissan Murano. They are still looking for the suspect but said they have strong leads.

Two separate GoFundMe pages have been set up to raise money for the family, one for Gabriel Barrera Jr. and one for Santos Sontay.