PHOENIX - A Phoenix man is still unable to walk a drunk driving crash seriously injured him.
The two-car collision happened on State Route 51 northbound at Shea Boulevard on Saturday, Sept. 26. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety officials, 34-year-old Jason Kengott drove his Honda pickup truck at high-speed, moments before rear-ending Edgardo Soto, 50. The crash caused Soto's Mazda to go up an embankment and hit a tree before rolling back down.
"He started to scream, 'I don't feel my arms. I don't feel my legs.' He had no feeling. He got to the hospital, he still had no feeling," said Soto's sister, Maria, in an interview with FOX 10 on Oct. 1.
Soto broke his ribs and multiple bones in his spine. Meanwhile, witnesses told troopers they initially saw Kengott driving the wrong way on SR-51 before the crash. Troopers say he struggled during a field sobriety test and his blood alcohol levels were at least .136. Kengott admitted to drinking a few beers that night.
"He has a 12-year-old daughter that wants to see her father, that can't see her father, and it's so frustrating because it's just like he was full of life," Maria said in October.
Minimal recovery for victim
Fast forward to nearly three months later, FOX 10 has learned more details about the days since the crash that left Soto badly injured.
Soto, as it turns out, had to battle pneumonia after the incident.
"His lungs were really bad," said Maria. "It was just full-blown pneumonia. He had internal bleeding that they found that he also had."
More than a month in ICU and unable to walk, Maria got even more bad news.
"The nurse came out and told me straight out that he was dying, that they couldn't do much for him, and that my solution was to maybe take him out of the intubation," said Maria.
Maria would not give up on her only brother, and eventually, doctors did a tracheostomy to help Soto breathe through his neck. Nowadays, Soto still can't speak, but is recovering at a rehab center. Due to the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic, Soto's family can't visit him indoors, but a week ago, staff moved Soto to a room with a window, so his 12-year-old daughter, Isabella, could see him just for a moment.
"We were all crying because it was the first time in three months almost that they saw each other for the first time," said Maria.
As for the case, FOX 10 has reached out to DPS officials about its status because the suspect had initially posted bail after his arrest. Officials say the case has been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Officials with MCAO say the case is under review. Meanwhile, Soto's family wants justice.
"He took away three months of his life already, and we don't even know how much longer he's gonna be in rehab. We're looking at like at least a year," said Maria.
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