I know it isn’t like me to write about things non-Asian but this is just something I wanted to write about– I needed to express my feelings. This is a blog, isn’t it?
If you don’t live in New Jersey, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about–considering that news about a car accident would most likely be in local news. It occurred on August 20th, 2011. The reason I am even talking about this is because one of my family members was in that car accident. Not even one, but all of his children as well, since they are also related to me.
The father’s name was Joaquin DeJesus. He is my grandfather’s brother’s son–so basically, my cousin. He had three of his sons in his car, Junior(13), Julian(11), and I don’t know the youngest’s name, but he was 9. He also was riding with a woman, her two daughters, and their nanny. Now, you may be thinking, “But that’s a Taurus they’re driving…that’s way too many people.” And yes, you’re right, but let me tell you why.
A relative was at a fishing spot and asked Joaquin to come with his kids to go fishing. The place the relative was at was only 10 minutes away from his house. Joaquin packed up his boys and headed out. Now, if you’re only driving 10 minutes down the road, it’s not really a big deal, right? Of course, it’s not the smartest way of thinking but this is just your average day, you’re not really expecting any impending disasters.
The driver was the woman and next to her, in the passenger’s side, was the nanny. Squished in the back was Joaquin, his three sons and the woman’s two daughters. On their way, the unimaginable happened. A yellow Hummer smashed into the back of the Taurus. Driving the Hummer was an off-duty police officer–or more specifically, a code-enforcement officer. Not much has been released about this person, most likely due to the fact that he was law enforcement, and they’re probably protecting his information like hawks.
The Taurus flipped over twice and trapped everyone inside. Joaquin, miraculously, managed to squeeze out of the back door windows, only to witness his oldest son taking his last breaths. The impact of the crash and the seatbelt’s “security” was the death of him. His neck was completely snapped and the bone was even visible, poking out of his body. Joaquin witnessed, from outside the car, his body trying to take in oxygen but failing, and, ultimately, dying.
One of the driver’s daughters also had their life taken, a 7-year-old little girl. She was dead from the impact, but no real specifics on her. Everyone else survived but suffered major injuries. Joaquin was taken to a local hospital and everyone else was flown to Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ. The woman’s other little girl, who is 5, suffered a broken arm. The 9-year-old boy had to go through some surgeries, and still will be undergoing them, due to major trauma to his head and face. Joaquin’s head was basically split open. I’m not too sure about the two women but I believe the younger one will have to undergo face reconstructive surgery. The driver of the Hummer was almost unscathed.
Earlier today, Julian, the 11-year-old boy was pronounced dead. His brain was swollen and he was in a comatose state from the accident, so the doctors couldn’t do much. After waiting it out for a very long time, the swelling never went down and he passed away. The 9-year-old boy is responsive and it looks like he’ll be okay. Everyone else is also in fine condition.
It bewilders me how the accident was in the news. When you hear this type of stuff everyday, you’re almost unphased. But when it actually happens to you, it’s the most hopeless feeling in the world. Junior was the closest to his dad, he would always look for him because his mother wanted almost nothing to do with him at that point. Joaquin has 9 kids and Junior was his oldest and was, like I said, his closest. When my mom explained how Joaquin was screaming and crying at the hospital, it was something I couldn’t imagine.
Joaquin was always the jokester. No matter how bad the situation, he would always crack a joke and make you feel better. Never was there a time where I saw him upset, or mad, or sad. To hear that he was screaming and yelling on the top of his lungs–saying how his life is ruined, and that why did God take Junior away, and asking why couldn’t it have been himself–really broke my heart.
I really and truly hope that everyone can bounce back from this. Not forget about it and move on. But just accept it and keep living your life. It’s the most heart-wrenching experience I’ve ever heard within my family. We’re huge and it takes something like this to realize that life could be so much worse. You just have to understand that without your family, you have nothing. Literally nothing. Cherish them and love them. Because things like this could happen to anyone.
May God bless everyone and their families. I love you all so much.
Just be strong.