By Israel Estrada, the brother of the 17-year-old boy ejected from a van that was struck by an alleged drunk driver in Palmdale on July 6, 2014.
My little brother’s name is Brandonly Estrada, nicknamed “Cano,” born in May 1997. He was riding in a van along with two other girls, Maria and Janet, who are both 20 years old, and another male passenger, Hector, who is 17 years old. Janet was driving.
In the early morning hours of July 6, all four of them, along with another car behind them, were going up the street from their house to the McDonald’s on 47th and Avenue S.
The female driver that crashed into the van is 25-year-old Wendy Aguilar-Flores. Wendy ran the red light as Janet was approaching the McDonald’s entrance. Wendy crashed into the side back of the van, causing the van to spin out of control, and my little brother Brandonly Estrada was ejected.
Wendy’s car flipped over numerous times and stayed flipped over. After the crash, Wendy got out of her flipped over vehicle and ran to my little brother and his friend, Hector. She started laughing and said “I can’t believe this sh** just happened.”
When the police got there, they did a Breathalyzer test on Wendy Aguilar-Flores, and we were informed by the detective that it came back twice over the amount of California law. Wendy was immediately arrested and charged with DUI causing injury.
But according to the detectives, it can escalate to more serious charges due to the injuries my little brother suffered.
In addition to Brandonly, there were other injuries from the van crash. The driver Janet suffered neck and back pain, and she was taken into the emergency room and was released from the hospital within a few hours. The other 17 year old, Hector, suffered from broken ribs, which punctured his kidney and liver. Maria did not suffer any injuries.
My mom received a call at around 5 a.m. telling her that Brandonly had got in a car accident. When we got to the hospital, the nurses told us that Brandonly had gone into surgery.
Before the surgery, the doctors had ordered for Brandonly to have a CAT scan. They told us his brain had shifted to the right and was already falling down, which could have caused his death. We were told he would have to be heavily sedated to avoid him from waking up, which would cause his brain to swell. The surgeons told us they had done everything they could, but they didn’t know if he would make it through.
We all suffered through three days and three nights without seeing his eyes or him moving. By the grace of God, he heard all our prayers and my little brother survived. He suffered a deep wound on the right side of his forehead, a broken nose, and many scrapes and burns. His right eye suffers from a deviation; he doesn’t have much control or strength over his right arm; and he is not able to walk for more than a few minutes and always needs someone standing behind him.
My little brother has always been very adventurous, spontaneous, loud, always laughing and making jokes, playing basketball, riding his motorcycle and simply amazing and fun to be around. Now he sleeps throughout most of the day. We want his life back! His life was just starting and because of a drunk driver he almost didn’t make it to stay with us.
On Tuesday, July 8, Wendy Aguilar-Flores was scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment. My sister, Jessica, and my wife, Mariza, both went to hear the outcome. When they went in, the family of Wendy laughed while my family was crying. When Wendy was called up after 4 p.m., she pleaded not guilty! She was originally held at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at $100,000 bond; now it is set for $180,000 and she is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on July 18.
I hope that you’re able to help us get the word out, and I am thanking you on behalf of all our family and Brandonly ahead of time.
Online fundraiser to help Brandonly “Cano” Estrada
The family has established an online fundraiser to help cover the medical expenses for Brandonly and to get him the therapy he needs to get his life back. Donations of any amount can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/bh0fj0
Editor’s Update 7/18/14: Following a preliminary court hearing Friday, July 18, Wendy Aguilar-Flores was ordered to stand trial on all charges – driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more causing injury and driving with a suspended license. She is due back in court August 5.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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