Two families shattered by Kenner DWI incident

Karen Bernard
Karen Bernard

New Orleans, La. -- Two families are struggling to come to grips with a tragedy that left a pregnant woman seriously injured and her unborn child dead.

"There are no words," said Karen Bernard, mother of 19-year-old Ebony Bernard.

Ebony was removed from the intensive care unit at Ochsner's Kenner medical facility but remains hospitalized, according to her mother.

"My daughter technically is destroyed. She was so looking for this baby," said her mother.

Kenner police say on Sunday evening 48-year-old Bernal Lino Aguilar was driving a truck the wrong way on a one-way street. Cops said witnesses saw the truck Aguilar was driving stop at Alabama Avenue then drive into the path of a car on Vintage Drive. Ebony Bernard was a passenger in the car.

"He's got a history dating back as far as 1992. He was convicted in 2003 for his third-offense DWI . He had pending charges in 24th District Court for his fourth-offense DWI," said Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor.

Now Aguilar faces an additional count of DWI as well as charges in the death of the unborn child, who was only weeks from delivery.

"We're thanking God for still having my daughter as opposed to losing my granddaughter. We were just so looking forward to having her, and we were so prepared and just rejoicing that it was only going to be a few more weeks.  Well, the few weeks turned into an end," Bernard stated.

Detral Dowell's son is the baby's father and Ebony's fiancee.

"We're taking it one day at a time, one step at a time and through prayers and encouraging one another because this was a traumatic thing that happened," Dowell said.

And while Karen Bernard said she is relying on her faith to help her cope with the tragedy, she said she cannot help but be angry.  "I don't want to stand here and say I'm not," she continued.

Both Bernard and Dowell said despite their pain they are grateful they got to see their granddaughter, even though she was deceased.

"Be able to hold her and let her know we love her and always, always will... She's our angel," Bernard said.

The family has established the Angel Dowell Memorial Fund at Capital One Bank.  Donations are being accepted at all branches.