More than two weeks after a Joshua Tree crash that killed the wife of a Twentynine Palms Marine, her husband and baby are slowly starting to recover from their life-threatening injuries. Lance Corporal Christopher Matthews, 28, is now in a wheelchair, and his 1-year-old daughter, Dakota, has regained consciousness at Loma Linda Hospital. Matthews has started physical therapy and is expected to make a full recovery. His daughter is being weaned off a ventilator. Doctors initially believed Dakota may have been paralyzed, and also feared that she may lose an eye, but she recently showed movement in her legs—but not her arms—and her eyesight seems good. Matthews’ wife, Angela, 25, died two days after the April 13 crash in which Jennifer Zapata, 22, of Magna, Utah, crossed the center line of Highway 62 near Arizona Avenue and collided head on with the Matthews’ car. Both Zapata and her passenger, Evelyn Martinez, 20, also of Utah, were hospitalized. Jennifer Zapata has pleaded not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and numerous charges of felony DUI. If convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Zapata faces four to 10 years in prison.
The Matthews family has set up a fundraising site to help relatives from Georgia travel to California to be with the injured family, which can be found here: