ANDERSON — The death of 37-year-old Oscar Cardenas, one of two men killed in a head-on collision near Alexandria early Wednesday, leaves a huge void in a large, close-knit family.
Cardenas leaves behind a wife, Amalia, and 10 children, according to Amalia's sister, Jo Dimas.
Jo Dimas spoke Thursday from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where she was at the side of her 35-year-old brother, Daniel.
He survived the accident but suffered significant head injuries, including a shattered jaw that likely will require surgery, Jo Dimas said. Although she was at her brother's side, Dimas' thoughts were also with Amalia Cardenas and the children.
"I haven't been able to be with her," Dimas said. "I think she's in a state of shock. ... She's completely lost right now."
Friends and family have come forward to help care for the children, making sure they get to school and are properly fed, "because she's in a daze right now," Dimas said.
She said Daniel was in and out of consciousness on Thursday, but doesn't really remember any details of the accident in which 59-year-old Antonio Perez also died.
According to the Madison County Sheriff's Department, Perez was driving a 1995 GMC Jimmy northbound on Ind. 9 near Madison County Road 1300 North about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when the accident occurred.
Eyewitnesses told sheriff's department investigators that a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by 29-year-old Lukas D. Green of Muncie was moving erratically as it traveled southbound on Ind. 9. The Cavalier reportedly crossed the center line of the road and slammed into Perez's vehicle in what Sheriff Ron Richardson called "a very, very violent crash."
Dimas said Perez, Cardenas, her brother and 17-year-old Kyle L. Kress left Anderson about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, heading for a farm near Marion where they were employed as laborers helping to harvest tomatoes. Dimas did not know the name or location of the farm.
The extended family has lived in Anderson for about seven years, she said.
Dimas said Oscar Cardenas and her sister met in Marion about 15 years ago. Amalia had two children from a previous relationship, and the couple had eight children together.
Lukas Green is also at Methodist recovering from injuries he suffered in the accident. Kress was transported to St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis and on Wednesday was released, a hospital spokesman said.
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