It was Monday morning Memorial Day weekend in May, 2007. A wrong way driver, a repeat offender driving under the influence of amounts of cocaine that should have been fatal to him, hit a car with three innocent people in it at 1am coming home from a movie. Everyone was trapped in their cars. The guy in the one car was yelling out in agony; I knew he was alive, so I went to the other car. All 3 people were unconscious and the car was on fire so I tried getting them out.
People were stopping and there was a crowd of people. Nobody would help because of the fire. Not only did they not help, but they were yelling at me to get out of the car, which infuriated me at the time, I couldn’t do it on my own. The driver of the car, who I later learned was Henry Rivera, wouldn’t wake up and he was wedged into the car in a way that made removing him impossible. I went to help the kid in the back seat behind the driver. He wouldn’t wake up so I crawled into the car from the other side. There was glass everywhere and what I thought was vomit. It turned out to be brain matter. He was seriously injured, but alive.
A Wegmans truck stopped and put the fire out.
At that point a doctor showed up on his way home from the hospital. He wouldn’t touch the guy in the car, who I later learned was Pedro Hernandez, but he talked me through what to do. With one hand, I was holding Pedro’s brain in his head, and with the other hand I was feeling his pulse. I just talked to him and tried to keep him calm even though he was unconscious. It never dawned on me that he would die. I was letting him know that he’s going to be ok and that help is on the way. I lost the pulse in his wrist. I found the pulse on his neck which didn’t last long. And he died. What happened in the next seconds is a whole other blog post that I can share at a later date.
As hard as it was, I left Pedro’s body and I tried helping the driver, I just wanted him to wake up. He started seizing and he was in there pretty good. I knew there wasn’t much I could do except keep his airway open. Two other people came to help so I wasn’t alone. One was a nurse, who knew the dr, they both just left the hospital, and she was worthless. I got really upset with her. She wanted to sit with the body in the back but I needed her help on the people in the front who were still alive. I told her he was gone, I wasn’t very nice about it. He was already dead. She wouldn’t listen. I still get angry thinking about it.
I thought I saved the kid driving the car, Henry, who was still unconscious when EMS arrived. They took over his care and I went to help the girl in the passenger seat who was already being helped by another bystander trying to wake her up. We couldn’t wake her up but she she would moan a little. She seemed to almost respond. She had visible facial injuries and her legs were crushed in there so I just had to try to free her legs and, wait for paramedics, and talk to her in case she had any consciousness. EMS arrived very quickly afterward.
I had to be sent to the hospital because I had cuts from the glass. It was the same hospital that Henry went to. The doctors told me that they believed he was in surgery with internal injuries. I found out from the news the next morning that he died shortly after surgery started. I was devastated. Like therapy devastated.
Ashley, the front seat passenger, 16 at the time, survived and is now a beautiful woman and mother.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of that accident. The impaired driver of the other car, Herman Bank, served time in NYS prison and is now a free man despite that being his fourth offense of that nature. Makes my skin crawl.
Thank you for reading. Leave a comment, ask a question, and come by again tomorrow.
*pic- Henry, 18, and Pedro, 20
2 thoughts on “In memory of Pedro Hernandez and Henry Rivera”
Dear Lord Amanda, I never knew! I am so sorry that you endured this. I always knew you were a strong woman, but I never imagined to this extent. God bless you Amanda! The world definitely needs more of you! 😘
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This was one of those experiences that stays with me every day and probably will forever, especially if I stay in Rochester. Because it was so close to home, I pass the site of the accident all the time. I also pass Henry’s parent’s house all the time, another reminder. Such a sad, tragic situation.