Escaping Rita with 11 Kids in the Car - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/23/05

Escaping Rita with 11 Kids in the Car

After $300 in gas and three days in the car, these "Rita runners" will tell you they are glad to be in Lubbock.

Jennifer Baltazar may have left everything behind in her hometown of Pasadena, Texas. "I don't care about anything else but my babies," Jennifer said.

With 11 kids in the car, she also had to pack her patience and faith. "We took whatever we had, my aunt my mom and dad, we just left. We were terrified all the way over here. Hoping and praying we wouldn't run out of gas. Hoping we would find gas stations with gas," said Jennifer.

For three days, grandparents, cousins, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles shared two vehicles. They slept there and they ate there "What hurt me the most was not having enough food, but a bag of chips to feed 11 kids. How do I make these chips last? We couldn't get off the road to get something to eat," said Linda Gonzales, grandmother to all of the children.

"We had to turn off the air conditioner to conserve gas. The kids were crying, fights broke out. It was like the end of the world," said Jennifer.

For three days, all they knew was they needed to get to a place, anywhere. "Dallas was full, we didn't want to go Interstate 45 because the traffic was worse," said Jennifer.

They headed to Lubbock. "Because I know Lubbock has good people. They have friendly faces and that's what these kids need right now," said Linda.

The family will stay at a Lubbock shelter until it is safe to return home.

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