Tuesday, October 23, 2018
News Roundup

Without health insurance, USF student hurt in Cuba crash can't return home

The daughter of Cuban parents, Barbara Jimenez has dreams of attending law school after graduating from the University of South Florida. She wants to be a litigation lawyer.

But earlier this month, she and her boyfriend, John Fox, were seriously injured in a car crash while visiting her family in Cuba. And because she doesn't have health insurance, she can't return to the United States for care. Flying her back could cost tens of thousands of dollars, her family said.

Days after the wreck, Fox, an engineer in Melbourne, was airlifted from Havana to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, his family said, where he is recovering from his injuries.

Jimenez's parents, Daisy Falcon and Jorge Jimenez of Immokalee, traveled to Cuba last week to be with her.

"I wish we could take her back. This isn't easy," Jorge said Saturday afternoon while sitting next to his daughter's hospital bed. "I feel so frustrated. The truth is this is the hardest thing that has ever happened to me in my life."

Fox, 23, and Jimenez, 22, arrived in Havana Aug. 3 and had planned to spend a few days with her family in San Jose, a town about 40 minutes away from the island's capital. An aunt and cousin met them at the airport. They hired a taxi cab, a 1952 Chevrolet, to take them to San Jose.

About 30 minutes into their trip, a truck slammed into the car. The taxi driver died at the scene, while Jimenez, Fox, and her two relatives were taken to local hospitals with serious injuries, according to Cuban news outlets.

Caridad Jimenez arrived the day after her sister's crash.

"Just seeing her laying there, a lifeless body in a coma," she said through tears. "It was really bad."

Barbara was in a coma for about five days, her sister said. She has since regained consciousness and can breathe on her own, but sustained head trauma and struggles to speak. She writes to communicate.

"She gets out of breath because she had a tracheotomy," said Caridad, who returned from Cuba on Wednesday. "She's so weak that she can't get up on her own. She gets so frustrated."

Barbara is a member of the Beta Gamma Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, which is fundraising in hopes that she can be brought to Florida for treatment.

Fox's father, Jim Fox, said his son has a cerebral fracture, a broken hip, a shattered orbital plate, and also had a stroke. But despite the injuries, he is making "extraordinary progress," Fox said.

"We thought he might have complete right-side paralysis, but he moved his arm and his leg. He lifted his arm and he scratched his face," he said. "It's a strange thing. They go over to Cuba. They happen to be in a '52 Chevy in a country where most of the cars don't have air bags. ... It's hard to understand."

Barbara's cousin and aunt underwent surgery and are now in stable condition.

"It's amazing they even survived this," Caridad said.

Barbara, who lives in Tampa, was scheduled to graduate from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in philosophy this fall, Caridad said. A politics junkie, she completed a legal internship earlier this year and has been studying for the LSAT. Barbara wants to attend Florida State University's law school.

"My sister has been on such a good path in the past year," Caridad said. "She's been doing so much."

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.

 
Comments
Cooler conditions prevail in Tampa Bay, but rain chances increase later in week

Cooler conditions prevail in Tampa Bay, but rain chances increase later in week

Tampa Bay can expect another cooler start to the morning and temperatures in the mid 80s by the afternoon. An area of high pressure may develop cloud cover throughout the day.
Updated: 19 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Joe Biden rallies Democrats in Tampa; WWE reacts to Roman Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis; postcard creates confusion for mail-in voters

The Daystarter: Joe Biden rallies Democrats in Tampa; WWE reacts to Roman Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis; postcard creates confusion for mail-in voters

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Mail ballots have already gone out for the 2018 election and early voting starts this month. Find out everything you wanted to know about local, state and federal candidates, where th...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Know the Foe: Houston

Know the Foe: Houston

A look at Houston, which hosts USF on Saturday at TDECU StadiumNickame: CougarsRecord: 6-1 (3-0 AAC)Wins: at Rice, 45-27; Arizona, 45-18; Texas Southern, 70-14; Tulsa, 41-26; at East Carolina, 42-20; at Navy, 49-36Loss: at Texas Tech, 63-49Coach: Maj...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Noose found hanging from tree at Belleair Country Club

Noose found hanging from tree at Belleair Country Club

Two African-American waste disposal workers found the noose and the town launched an investigation
Published: 10/23/18
Recipe for a skillet pie with sweet potatoes

Recipe for a skillet pie with sweet potatoes

This dish has very strong fall vibes.
Published: 10/23/18
Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Last year, Floridians’ trick-or-treat bowls were leaning toward Skittles. But a more savory — but still sugary — treat has taken over as the Sunshine State’s preferred candy this Halloween. The Snickers bar wins out, according to a recent survey by s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
World Series: Red Sox will give Dodgers early dose of lefties

World Series: Red Sox will give Dodgers early dose of lefties

BOSTON — The Red Sox feel going with two lefties to start the World Series against the Dodgers is the right move.With LHP Chris Sale over the stomach issues he still, smirkingly, says were caused by a belly button ring and set to start Tuesday ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Romano: Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

Romano: Cops should get body cameras before cell phones get them

It’s happened again. Another snippet of video. Another Florida cop being questioned.This time, it’s in Coral Springs, and the cop is punching the midsection of a 14-year-old girl who is pinned on the ground with two cops above her, and her hands unde...
Updated: 9 hours ago
World Series: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains a Red Sox hero

World Series: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains a Red Sox hero

BOSTON — The Dodgers already had plenty to yell about, and to toast, when they gathered in the bar of Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel late Saturday to continue the celebration of their National League championship.But as a quick clip from the ALCS 14...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: Dirk Koetter chooses his inconsistent kicker over his inconsistent quarterback

Buccaneers AfterMath: Dirk Koetter chooses his inconsistent kicker over his inconsistent quarterback

TAMPA — By beating the Browns 26-23 Sunday, the Buccaneers snapped a three-game losing streak and Tampa Bay breathed a collective sigh of relief.It wasn’t pretty, a misadventure full of interceptions, fumbles, penalties and missed kicks. ...
Updated: 10 hours ago