MIAMI (WSVN) – An elderly man nearly died when an SUV landed on top of him at a shopping plaza in Hialeah. Two weeks later, doctors are astonished by a recovery that loved ones have called miraculous.
A photo shared by Mario Armenteros’ family on Saturday shows the 82-year-old in a neck brace giving a thumbs up from his bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“Considering everything that he went through, it’s actually a miracle that he’s still alive,” said Carlos Corzo, Armenteros’ son-in-law.
Officials said the patient became trapped underneath an SUV in the parking lot of Lago Plaza near the intersection of West 28th Avenue and 68th Street, July 27.
According to his family, Armenteros had stopped by to see a friend.
“We suspect that, instead of putting the car into park, he might have had it neutral, actually,” said Corzo. “When he got out of the car, he was walking behind the car, checking something under the car that he felt that he had maybe run over.”
Relatives said Armenteros then peeked underneath the SUV.
“The car started rolling, and he just couldn’t get out of the way in time,” said Corzo.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene.
“People were kind of screaming and running around,” said Millen Cruz, who works in the area.
It took Hialeah Fire Rescue crews about 15 minutes to carefully lift the SUV away from Armenteros and place him on a stretcher.
Cellphone video captured the moment crews freed the victim.
“The person was awake and alert, but he did sustain a pretty bad head injury,” said Hialeah Fire Division Chief David Rodriguez.
Armenteros currently has about 70 staples in his head due to his injuries.
“He’s alive and kicking, and it’s going to be a slow process, but he’s strong,” said Corzo.
Armenteros’ family said they’re aware his recovery will be a long one, even as his condition gradually continues to improve.
Photographs shared by relatives show the 83-year-old undergoing physical therapy.
“He’s really, really, like, trying to push himself, because he says, ‘No, no, I’ve got to get myself back in shape and walking again,’” said Corzo.
Loved ones said they are grateful Armenteros will be able to recover after his frightening close call.
“One second of distraction can lead to a long time of what’s happening now, which is a slow, painful recuperation,” said Corzo.
Armenteros’ family said they’re not sure how long he will have to stay at JMH.
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