Man recalls survival story after car crash, 5 days in woods

Jose Velasquez grateful to be alive after terrifying ordeal

It is a story of survival with details that sound more like a movie piot. 

But for 32-year-old Jose Velasquez, those details are very real. 

He managed to survive a car crash and five days alone in the woods, and is grateful.

“I have broken femur,” Velazquez said. “All of the ribs on my right side are broken. My vertebra is fractured. My nose is broken, and my lungs, one of my lungs is collapsed but getting better.”

Every moment of pain, though, is a reminder he is alive. 

“I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” he said. 

A visit to Houston quickly turned into a nightmare for him last month. 

“I came up to Houston from Freeport to have a dinner with my fiancee, and after that, I was coming with her to my cousin’s house,” he said. 

But he never made it.

Velazquez doesn’t remember exactly what happened, but he woke up after crashing his car in a wooded area near FM 1488 and Highway 242. 

“I don’t remember at all,” he said. “I do remember having dinner, and then it's just cut to me waking up in the woods, struggling to stand up. Yeah, I don’t remember anything.”

The crash site was far enough up the road that he and his car went unnoticed for five days. 

“I do remember when it rained,” he said. “It was so cold. I remember the next day after it would rain, it would be so hot and humid during that the day that I would claw at the dirt and rub it all over my body just to try to keep cool."

He relied on vines and leaves for food.

"Thank God, I found some containers in the car," he said. "I would put them out so they would fill with rainwater and that's what I would drink."

Velasquez managed to keep a positive attitude through the ordeal, only losing hope the day before he was rescued. 

"That night I heard people. Turned out it was my family looking for me," he said. "So I heard them, I grabbed the Starbucks cup that I had and a stick and I started banging on it because I couldn't yell loud because of my lung," he said. 

But the search crew turned in the wrong direction.

"All of a sudden, I just stopped hearing voices, and that's when I lost hope," he said.  "I just laid back and said, 'If you're going to take me, take me now. I don't want to be here,' and I fell asleep."

The next day, his prayer for a rescue was answered.

"I remember hearing a voice," he said. "I don't remember what he said, but I heard a voice coming from behind me, from behind the car, and I said, 'Help I'm over here," and he said, 'I hear you.'" 

Help had arrived. 

"I asked him, 'Is the ambulance coming?'  He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Can they stop at Sonic on the way?'"

Velasquez credits his family for finding him. He said his cousin was the one who reached out to his cellphone company, which gave them the general area to search for him. 

He said he hopes his story inspires others to keep the faith.




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