WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A man who was hit by a car while broken down on Interstate 65 in Williamson County last month is still fighting for his life, but his family is hoping to bring him back home to Mexico so he can be with loved ones.
Jorge Ruiz-Castillo feels helpless as his younger brother, Darinel Alfonso Ruiz-Castillo, lies paralyzed in the hospital, saying he cries every day.
“I came to the hospital thinking that he was dead,” Jorge said through an interpreter.
With nowhere to turn, acquaintance Tina Mota stepped in to help.
“It’s very tragic,” said Mota.
Darinel was on his way to pick up Jorge from work when his car broke down, so Franklin Police said he stopped in a southbound travel lane of I-65 during the early morning hours on March 19.
Then, while Darinel was in front of his vehicle, another driver rear-ended the car, which hit Darinel, according to Jorge.
“They tell you, if you’re on the side of the road, try to get out, get to safety, and that’s what he was trying to do when he was hit,” Mota explained. “He was trying to get to safety. They found his body up against the retaining wall.”
Darinel has been at Vanderbilt University Medical Center since undergoing several surgeries while paralyzed from his chest down, with Jorge saying his brother is now on life support.
“You know he wants to get up, he tries to fight ‘cause he can move his arms and you can see him move his arms, trying so hard to sit up and he can’t do anything. There’s just no feeling. He’s had two surgeries in his neck, five vertebrates were replaced with some metal in his neck to try to take all the pressure off of his spinal chord,” said Mota. “To know somebody that young has to go through that, it’s very sad. Not knowing, when we came here, didn’t know if he had an eye because his face was just so disfigured on one side, had a halo on his head, not knowing if he had a brain injury, not knowing what exactly were the circumstances of the injury, I mean, it’s very tragic.”
Darinel and Jorge made their way to the United States hoping for a better living, but now, they are just praying for a tomorrow.
“He’s very close, it’s his baby brother. He’s the one that took care of him when he was a baby, the most important thing that he has, a very good brother. He’s got a very big heart,” Mota said on Jorge’s behalf.
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The incident has caused a financial domino effect for the brothers, who support their parents back home in Mexico. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical, living, and travel expenses.