Toddler died of brain tumor complications after car hit his ambulance in DWI, autopsy reveals

Jose Martin Duran Romero

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A 2-year-old boy who was injured when a drunken driver crashed into the ambulance transporting him died shortly after from complications of a brain tumor, according to an autopsy released Monday, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.

The boy, Braylon Hunter Jenkins, was traveling by ambulance on U.S. 52 to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center from Virginia. At 1:15 a.m. Feb. 11, the ambulance was hit on the left side by a 2003 Honda Accord driven by Jose Martin Duran Romero, Winston-Salem police said. The ambulance overturned near the Liberty Street exit on U.S. 52 South. Romero’s car ran off the road, according to police.

Romero, 27, of Neston Drive, had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. He was charged with driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed and driving without an operator’s license. Romero has not been charged in Jenkins’ death.

According to the autopsy, Braylon died from a loss of oxygen to the brain that was caused by swelling in the brain. That swelling stemmed from what is known as a primitive neuroectodermal tumor in the brain, the autopsy report said.

A contributing factor to the boy’s death was a traumatic extubation. In other words, the crash knocked a tube, likely a breathing tube, from Jenkins’ body. Doctors put in another tube to help Braylon breathe but the toddler remained unresponsive, the autopsy report said. Braylon’s brain condition continued to get worse and his family asked doctors to withdraw life support, the report said.

It’s unclear whether Romero will face additional charges in Braylon’s death. Assistant District Attorney Matt Breeding said Monday that he has not yet received the autopsy. He said he wants to carefully review the autopsy findings so that prosecutors can make the appropriate charging decision in the case.

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