A week after a woman was killed and a truck was hit so hard it flew off the 15 Freeway and into a parking garage during a crash caused by a suspected DUI driver in Temecula, the driver of that truck is finally out of the hospital and talking about the crash that severely injured him.
Mike Rivera, the crash victim, repeats, "How did I make it out? How did i make it out?"
Every time Rivera sees this horrific crash that was all caught on dashcam video, he wonders how he made it out alive. The 38-year-old construction worker was driving to San Diego when the impact of the crash sent Rivera's white truck flying off Interstate-15, slamming into a parking garage.
"I remember waking up in the truck, trapped in between the steering wheel and the back of the truck," Rivera recalls, saying the entire event was a blur.
"I took off my seat belt," Rivera says. "I think I tried to stand up. That was the last thing I remember."
Rivera, a husband and father of five, suffered multiple injures including broken ribs, a broken back and a shattered leg. Still, he's thankful for making it out of the crash with his life.
"I was fortunate enough to make it out, but I could only imagine what my family would be going through if I didn't make it," Rivera says.
Although it'll take many months before he recovers, Rivera feels lucky because he survived, unlike Janet Genoa, a 44-year-old Murrieta woman whose car was struck first by a gray Chevy Silverado.
"Unfortunately, that lady had to lose her life because this guy being careless with his choices," Rivera says.
Prosecutors say Javier Caldera caused the violent chain reaction crash. Caldera is accused of being high on drugs and speeding at more than 100 mph. The 25-year-old man from Washington State also has a long criminal record that includes previous DUIs. Caldera faces numerous charges, including second-degree murder and driving under the influence of drugs.
"He needs to be punished," Rivera says. "He took someone's life."
As Rivera continues to recover, he thanks the many people who are supporting his family by contributing to his GoFundMe account because he says he has no idea if or when he will be able to work again.
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