A young Ramona couple are struggling to meet mounting medical bills in Mexico after a horrific car accident left the couple helpless and a family member dead.
Ruben, 29, and Samantha, 26, Elizarraras were severely injured about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 6, while returning from the Baja car race in Ensenada. Ruben’s sister, who lived in Tecate, died in the crash.
Ruben has a cracked vertebra and broken ribs and is being cared for by his parents in Tecate. Samantha has extensive head and brain injuries and is in a nearby hospital, though Ruben’s family must provide much of the care, according to Samantha’s cousin, Wendy Cordova of Ramona.
Cordova is working to coordinate help between the United States and Mexico for the couple, including trying to raise money to help with the costs.
Cordova said that the couple’s three children, Marley, 9, who will be going into the fourth grade at Ramona Elementary School this year, and 3-year-old twins, Adaly and her brother Abiel, who will be starting their second year in Head Start, were not on the trip with their parents.
On the way home, a rear tire on Ruben’s Blazer blew out and sent the vehicle rolling down an embankment, Cordova explained.
“Everyone was wearing seat belts, but the sister was apparently ejected first. Ruben managed to hang on to Samantha for a while, but eventually they were all thrown out,” Cordova said.
Ruben tried to stand but immediately fell to the ground, Cordova said.
He crawled over to his sister, but she was dead and he went back to help Samantha.
“Because of her head and brain injuries, she was taken to an excellent hospital, but we could not keep her there,” said Cordova. “There is limited insurance that comes with the toll-road fee, but that was eaten up in the first day.”
They have not received a bill yet, but Cordova said that, because of the nature of care that Samantha needed, it cost somewhere in the region of $2,000 a day and she was there for five days before the doctors were able to take a tube out of her head and have her moved.
She was transferred to a hospital where limited care is provided under a form of Mexican Medicare, secured through Ruben’s mother.
However, Cordova said, “the care is minimal, and we have had to provide our own pillows, baby food, diapers—she is completely unable to care for herself—and medicines. They say she should make a good recovery, but it will take a long time.”
Samantha is a long-time supporter of the Ramona/Julian Academy of Dance, and members of the academy have already held a car wash to help raise funds for the Elizarraras family.
In addition, an account has been opened at Wells Fargo, account No. 5012246004, for anyone who would like to help with their expenses.
Cordova said that depending on the severity of the crack in the vertebra, Ruben may have to seek new employment rather than working for a contractor as he has in the past. Samantha was a stay-at-home mom.