Principal injured by drunken driver meets rescuers who saved his life

South Dade Senior High School principal Javier Perez thanks first responders

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida principal who was seriously injured by a suspected drunken driver in April met Friday with the rescuers who saved his life.

South Dade Senior High School principal Javier Perez met with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

It was his first encounter with the men and women who came to his aid after he was struck by a car while coaching his son's Little League team.

"Javi was trapped, but by the grace of God or a miracle the weight of the car actually hit an embankment. He was under the car, but he was not pinned," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighter Karen Rios said.

Perez, 44, had both of his legs amputated and is using a wheelchair to get around, but he remains hopeful that he will be running again soon with the help of prosthetic legs.

"It was extremely important for me to get back together with them and be able to say this to them, to thank them," Perez told reporters.

Perez said he wants to take his family to the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue station and provide dinner for the crew.

"His will to live is off the charts," Dr. Mark McKenney said. "I've seen a lot of severe injuries, but you can't survive without just a driving, penetrating will to pull through, and it was phenomenal to see."

Marilyn Aguilera was arrested in connection with the crash.


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