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Singer Gloria Estefan Injured in Bus-Truck Accident

March 21, 1990

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) _ Doctors said today that singer Gloria Estefan would need surgery for a broken vertebra she suffered when a truck ran into her band’s bus on a snow- covered mountain highway.

Miss Estefan, lead singer of the Latin-pop band Miami Sound Machine, has a ″partial neurologic deficit″ that is causing numbness in her feet, Dr. Harry Schmaltz said at a news conference at Community Medical Center.

Schmaltz, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said she needs surgery to stabilize the spine and prevent further injury, but that the family wants a specialist to perform the operation.

He said there still was some danger of paralysis, and that she would need about three to six months’ recuperation in which she would have to wear a constraining device to prevent further injury.

Estefan expressed frustration to doctors at missing concerts and concern about her 9-year-old son, who broke his collarbone in the crash. Police gave the boy’s name as Nayib but the hospital spelled it Nayad. He was released Tuesday, along with Miss Estefan’s husband, Emilio Estefan Jr., who suffered head and hand injuries.

Among the well-wishers who called the hospital were President Bush and Dick Clark of ″American Bandstand″ fame.

White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said Bush called the 32-year- old singer this morning to wish her well and tell her how much had enjoyed her visit at the White House on Monday to discuss her anti-drug work.

Miss Estefan is a longtime Bush supporter who performed at one of his inaugural events in Washington in 1989.

Also hospitalized was the singer’s personal assistant, Barbara Arencibia, 25, who suffered a back injury.

The group was headed to Syracuse, N.Y., for a Tuesday night concert. The accident occurred about noon on westbound Interstate 380 near Tobyhanna in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Estefans’ driver, Ron Jones, said he had stopped on the highway when a tractor-trailer jackknifed in the snow and a truck and bus stopped behind it. Jones said the bus was pushed into the truck when another truck rammed it from behind. Miss Estefan was asleep on a couch and was thrown to the floor.

Trooper Joseph Kearney said the truck driver ″came up on them and ... was unable to stop and he should have been.″

The truck driver, identified as Heraldo E. Samuels of Scarborough, Ontario, was cited for driving at an unsafe speed. He was treated and released.

Miss Estefan was nominated in February for best pop vocal performance by a female for the single ″Don’t Wanna Lose You″ in the Grammy awards.

Her new album, ″Cuts Both Ways,″ a collection of dance songs and ballads, was 26th on the Cashbox magazine pop chart last week.

The Cuban-born Miss Estefan and Miami Sound Machine have attracted listeners worldwide with the sounds of salsa, samba and conga for more than a decade. Their hits include ″Rhythm Is Gonna Get You″ and ″Anything for You.″

The band was recently renamed Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.