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Tejano star Navaira may not survive injuries: doctor

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Grammy-winning Tejano music star Emilio Navaira may not survive severe brain injuries from a Sunday morning bus crash, the neurosurgeon overseeing his treatment said on Monday.

Navaira underwent two hours of emergency surgery to relieve a large blood clot on the surface of his brain underneath the skull, and he has been put into a chemically induced coma, said Dr. Alex Valadka.

“There is a chance he may not make it,” Valadka said during a Monday news conference at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston. “(The clot) was pushing on the brain, causing a lot of pressure,” he said.

Doctors have cooled Navaira’s body to 91.5 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius) to prevent swelling of his brain, which could cause further damage, Valadka said.

Navaira’s family has been told “we’re not even going day by day at this point -- we’re going hour by hour,” Valadka said.

The singer was driving his band’s tour bus on a highway in the Houston suburb of Bellaire, Texas, when it crashed into plastic construction barrels. The bus then careened into a concrete barrier on the side of the roadway.

Navaira was thrown through the windshield, said Bellaire Assistant Police Chief Byron Holloway. “He did land in the roadway in front of the vehicle,” Holloway said.”

Investigators have not found anyone who was riding in the front of the bus with Navaira, so determining the accident’s cause may hinge on the singer’s survival and his ability to remember the crash, he said.

Police are attempting to determine if alcohol or fatigue played a role in the accident, which occurred about 5 a.m. Sunday local time (1000 GMT). Navaira and his band played Saturday night at a club in southeast Houston and were driving back to their homes in San Antonio.

Called the “King of Tejano music,” Navaira is often described as one of the most influential Tejano musicians, on par with late singer Selena. Navaira won a Grammy award in 2003 for his album Acuerdate.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Todd Eastham