Teen meets first responders who saved his life

19-year-old's car bursts into flames after hitting a tree

KENDALL, Fla. – A teenager met the people who saved his life after a horrific crash in last April.

Joseph Lopez, 19, sideswiped another car on Southwest 104th Street near 117th Avenue in April 2019; seven months later he met the first responders and the doctor who he was able to thank for saving his life.

Lopez lost control of the Chevy sedan he was driving after he hit another car. The Chevy slammed into a tree and immediately burst into flames. Lopez was trapped inside.

"I don't remember anything. I was unconscious when the crash happened," said Lopez.

The teen told Local 10's Roy Ramos that he spent a total of two months being treated at Kendall Regional Medical Center for severe burns to his hands and legs. 

"I heard that I woke up two days after the crash. When I first woke up in the hospital I was like, 'what's going on?"

Thanks to the help of good Samaritans and first responders - he not only spoke with us today - but thanked - and shook the hands of the Miami-Dade police officers who saved his life

"Seeing the faces that saved me that day along with the other civilians that also did help, it is just amazing," said Lopez.

Miami-Dade police officer Yaara Reeve responded to the scene and was at the ceremony. "It meant a lot to see him in one piece and doing very well. We were all very excited to see him," she said.

Three officers who responded to Lopez's crash, just a few of many first responders, were honored by the Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association during its annual ceremony Tuesday. The ceremony is to recognize the men and women who keep the city safe.

"It is really amazing.  I could have not seen them. Like, I could not be here right now," said Lopez.

When the crash happened, Lopez was employed as a bagger at Publix. His boss attended the ceremony Tuesday. Not only did the company keep his job for him as he was in recovery, but he's been promoted to cashier.

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