Santa Maria man pursues education while recovering from near fatal motorcycle crash

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 13, 2018

Exactly one year after he nearly died in a motorcycle crash, a Santa Maria man is looking forward to starting school at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

On Sept.13, 2017, Javier Flores’ life changed forever. It was a day most would people never forget, but for him, it’s all a blur.

"I can’t remember anything at all, not even when I woke up and took a shower," Flores, 23, said. "I can’t remember anything from that day."

Along with broken bones and nerve damage to his hand, Flores suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Flores recounted Thursday how many passers-by later told him and his family that they believed the crash they saw outside JCPenney on Stowell Road was fatal.

"The worst things go through your head, not knowing if your family member is OK after being in an accident," Flores’ sister, Laura, said.

Laura Flores remembers sitting at the hospital, waiting anxiously for any news about her younger brother.

"It was probably the most intense five minutes of our lives," she said.

Miraculously, he survived. But for this devoted student, the lessons would take him back to basics.

"They showed me how to walk again, showed me how to be left-handed," Javier Flores said.

Laura Flores considers her brother strong and said his fight to recover has been nothing short of impressive.

"If it had been someone else, they’d probably be in bed feeling sorry for themselves, not wanting to come out from their house, just going through a major depression," Laura Flores said. "That didn’t happen to him."

On his last day of rehab, Javier Flores walked into his counselor’s office at Allan Hancock College.

"He didn’t want to waste time, he just wanted to get back to school," Laura Flores said.

Flores got caught back up in his classes, studying harder than ever before and his work didn’t go unnoticed. Flores was named "Student of the Year."

"I was like, ‘Why am I getting this? This is just stuff I always do,’" Javier Flores said. "And they said, ‘Javey, you don’t get the big picture, you almost died and you’re here.’"

Now, as he looks ahead to starting another school year at Cal Poly studying electrical engineering, Flores knows the days until next Sept. 13 won’t be forgotten, but cherished.