DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – It happened on June 29 as Jose Sepulveda tried to make his way home from work.
After finding his usual southern route backed up, Sepulveda headed for the Tollway. It would prove to be a life-changing detour: one that almost cost him his life.
As he watched a DART Para Transit Van approaching in his rear view mirror, Sepulveda remembers thinking, “Man, he’s coming pretty fast.”
The driver didn’t appear to slow down.
“I just got enough chance to grab onto the steering wheel, and that was pretty much it.”
Video of the crash shows the van slamming full speed into Sepulveda’s Nissan Altima — his car crumpled like an accordion.
“That was a real bad wreck,” Sepulveda said. “A lot of people were telling me that I was lucky that I made it. And it’s true.”
The now 29-year-old father of two is grateful to be alive. But, the road to restored health has been and continues to be tough. He’s now in a wheelchair and his walking is severely restricted.
“I can’t walk to the bathroom with a walker; but, that’s about it.”
Although Sepulveda says the pain has lessened in the months since the crash, he says it’s tough to be in constant pain. “Your shoulder waking you up hurting, your ribs, everything hurts.”
Sepulveda’s injuries were severe. But, his heart harbors no anger at the driver. “Really, to tell you the truth, I haven’t even thought about him,” he said.
Someone is thinking of he person responsible. The driver and his employer – DART contractor Veolia Transportation – have been named in a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages.
“We’ve had conversations with Veolia’s representatives,” says his attorney Rob Crain, “and to this point they’ve been very amicable discussions and we’re still hopeful that we can come to some common terms and so forth.”
Bottom line: Sepulveda is encouraging all drivers to keep their eyes on the road: because the next guy may not get so lucky. “There’s a reason why I’m still here, there’s got to be.”