Calming kindness in midst of serious accident

Gomez grateful for handful of citizens offering help during family distress

  • Andrea Hernandez-Gomez holds up the Liz Claiborne jacket a good Samaritan left with her sister, Regina, following a Nov. 10 vehicular accident, which also involved the girls’ mother, Monica Gomez. The family is hoping to find the individual and return the jacket. - Michelle Hollenhead

  • The damage done to Gomez’s vehicle. - Michelle Hollenhead

Sometimes during the greatest chaos, kindness and community are most evident, something a Choto woman discovered following a Nov. 10 traffic accident.

Many local residents stepped up.

Monica Gomez was driving her youngest daughter, 13-year-old Regina, home following an evening dance class when their car was struck at the intersection of Concord Road and South Campbell Station Road.

“It is a path we take every single day,” Gomez said. “The accident happened in seconds.”

While Regina was unhurt and able to exit the vehicle, Gomez was pinned inside.

“I could hear my daughter telling me we had had an accident,” Gomez recalled.

Immediately, passersby began stopping to offer assistance, one of whom was able to convey to Gomez’s husband, Tomas Hernandez, what had happened. “He was at the airport and on his way back from traveling for work,” she said.

“The individual not only spoke to my husband (via the vehicle’s Bluetooth), but he reassured me help was on the way,” Gomez added.

Rural Metro first responders were indeed quick to arrive, as their main station is located about a mile from the crash site.

“I feel very grateful the first responders were already very near,” she said. “They were there in just a couple of minutes.”

Gomez had to be extricated from the vehicle. In the meantime, other area residents had stopped to offer assistance. One in particular.

“One nice lady offered my daughter her coat to wear, and she stayed with my daughter while they worked to get me out of the car,” she said. “I remember seeing her when they put me in the ambulance.

“Another couple stayed with her, too,” Gomez added. “In that moment, I was very confused and didn’t get any names.”

Gomez praised “everyone” who helped in the accident’s aftermath.

“The ambulance driver reassured me my daughter was in the front seat, and a police officer made sure I got my license back,” she said.

“All people were very kind and patient,” Gomez added. “I feel very grateful that God sent so many people around us on that day.”

Gomez had some cracked ribs. X-rays taken days after the accident revealed a broken collarbone that recently was surgically repaired. She is now recuperating at home.

Like her husband, Gomez is a native of Mexico. The couple lived for a time in Brazil before moving to the Knoxville area four years ago with Regina and their other two daughters, Andrea and Elisa.

The family has had time to reflect on the kindnesses shown following Gomez’s accident and is hoping to find the woman who provided the navy blue Liz Claiborne-quilted coat for Regina.

“I would like to return it, and thank her for what she did,” Gomez said, adding she also would like to take donuts or other treats to the first responders who helped.

“I would love to recognize them. We just want to thank everyone, from our family, for what they did for us.”

Anyone with information about the jacket owner may e-mail Gomez at