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Family Baffled that Victim was Unattended

AUSTIN, Texas -- The family of Erica N. Smith, an Austin woman who was incorrectly presumed dead after a traffic collision in San Antonio and later died at a hospital, is "very concerned" about the amount of time that lapsed between when first responders arrived at the scene and when the woman was treated, her brother said Tuesday .

Smith, a 23-year-old Texas State University-San Marcos senior, was covered with a yellow tarp, according to news reports, and police said she was left unattended for more than two hours Sunday after emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene of the wreck. An investigator for the medical examiner's office later arrived at the scene and discovered that Smith was still alive, officials said.

She died Monday at Brooke Army Medical Center.

"She was one of the best; you couldn't ask for a better sister," her brother, Bobby Smith, 21, said Tuesday. "She was just perfect."

"It is unfathomable to me that my little cousin sat, bleeding, under a tarp and in the cold while receiving no medical attention," Kimberly McGuire, a cousin of Smith's, said in an e-mail to the San Antonio Express-News. "I can't help but wonder if her injuries would be less severe had she received the prompt medical treatment she deserved."

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said that the department is reviewing the incident but that he didn't expect the paramedics who thought she was dead to be disciplined. He would not specify how the paramedics checked Smith's condition but said they generally check for vital signs.

"The paramedics, when they were doing their job, they didn't think they were missing anything," Hood said.

According to a police report, Smith was the front-seat passenger in a Honda Accord that was hit head-on by a vehicle that crossed a median on Loop 410.

The driver of the other car, Seguin resident Jenny Ann Ybarra, 28, has been charged with intoxication assault. Police said she was released from Bexar County Jail after posting $5,000 bail Sunday.

lheinauer@statesman.com

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