PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jasmine Garcia is a senior at Oregon State University who took this term off to complete a 6-month civil engineering internship with the City of Gresham’s Water Resources Division.
But shortly before 2 a.m. on October 21, Jasmine’s life changed. So did everyone else’s life around her.
“I got the call,” her mother, Julia Valle-Galicia, told KOIN 6 News. “When I got here she was already in the OR and I didn’t get to see her before she went in.”
She added, “I’m living every mother’s worst nightmare.”
Jasmine was the backseat passenger in a Subaru near the intersection of SW Capitol Highway and Freeman. The driver of an oncoming BMW drifted into their lane and slammed head-on into the Subaru, police said.
Jasmine was critically hurt.
She broke her back and her ribs, lacerated her spleen and liver, damaged her intestines and diaphragm and she’s not able to breathe on her own, her mother said.
“She’s pretty much in a really bad state,” she said. “The doctors say she’s very broken.”
But what saved her life, her mother said, was wearing her seat belt.
The 21-year-old driver of the BMW, Garret Scheckla, was arrested and faces 7 charges, including DUII. He was also injured.
“It’s hard to think that someone makes the mistake of doing something and it changes everybody’s life, and it changed my life and my daughter’s life. She’s innocent in all this,” Valle-Galicia said. “I don’t understand and I don’t think I will.”
She said she’s staying strong for her daughter even though it is very hard at times. “I just want to wake up and say it’s just a dream. I want to relive that night where everything will be fine and it won’t happen.”
There is one thing, specifically, she hopes will come out of this: that people will stop drinking and driving.
“Don’t do it because it could change not only that person’s life but everybody around, whoever you have in the car, whoever you hit.”
Young people think “they can walk on air” but there are plenty of other ways to get home.
“There’s Uber, there’s Lyft,” she said. “Have a designated driver. It’s not that hard.”
She is spending day and night at the hospital with her daughter.
“I know that she’s fighting, she’s fighting with all her strength because she’s still feisty, very feisty,” she said. “Even being in tubes and all.”
She’s grateful for the support from the community and the prayers that people make. “It’s very comforting.”
Julia described Jasmine as vibrant, feisty and outgoing.
“What can I say? She lights up a room.”