What a parent feels and does after police report your child's been in an accident

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:46

    WARWICK-Gabriel Fernandez has been through a parent's worst nightmare. Two weeks ago, the Warwick police came to his Wickham Village home to tell him his son, Gabriel Fernandez III, 16, had been airlifted to Westchester County Medical Center after crashing the family's 2000 Lincoln into a tree on Kings Highway. The ride to Westchester for the elder Fernandez was hell. "When I got there, I didn't think I'd have my son," said Fernandez. Gabe was alive, but he had broken every bone in his face, said his father. Both of his legs were broken, his jaw is wired shut, and he is being fed by a tube. He has had two surgeries. But he is alive. The Warwick Valley High School junior is following commands but has been unable to communicate because of his jaw being wired. Gabe has turned a corner, said his father, and the entire family is grateful to those who helped to save their son. "The Warwick Ambulance Corps and Fire Department - those folks were key," said Fernandez. "They got there quick. I believe that's what saved his life. They got him from point A to point B." Gabe was headed to his classes at Warwick Valley High School on Friday, Feb. 11, when he lost control of his car just south of the Kings Highway and Belcher Road intersection at around 7 a.m. Warwick police said that speed was a factor in the accident, something Fernandez denies. "That is inaccurate," said Fernandez. "I went to the site, trying to see what happened. He was trying to avoid something. Either a deer or sun glare got in his way. He wasn't on his phone - I checked the incoming and outgoing calls. I don't know exactly what happened and he hasn't been able to tell us yet, but it looks like he tried to compensate for something." Fernandez and his wife, Yolanda, believe that Gabe's seat belt and the size of the car he was driving were two reasons why Gabe made it. "My wife always looks out when he is pulling out to see if he has his seat belt on," said Fernandez. "She watched him pull out that morning and he did have his seat belt on. He had the mark on his body after the accident." The Fernandez family is grateful to its neighbors and acquaintances. Their pastor, Father Michael McLaughlin from St. Stephen's Church, came up to visit with Gabe and the family. "We are so thankful for how wonderful people have been to us," said Fernandez. "It's been so difficult for us. We've been living here (at the hospital) and so many people have been so great to us." For now, Fernandez, Yolanda, and their other son, Brandon, are hoping and praying that Gabe continues to make progress. "We are just trying to think positive," said his grateful dad. "One day at a time."