TEMPLE (May 2, 3013)—Temple High School senior Fabian Vargas, who was critically injured in an accident that left his mother and a family friend dead, says he’s excited to be home after two months in the hospital and rehabilitation.
Temple High School senior Fabian Vargas is home after two months in the hospital and rehabilitation after a crash that killed his mother and a family friend. (Courtesy photo)
But he says home isn't the same without his mother.
"She chose all the wall colors, she chose the doors, she choose all the decorations, so it was a little bit hard," Vargas said.
Vargas was injured when a truck hit the car in which he, his mother Hortencia "Tina" Piedra and their family friend Susan Farley were riding on March 8 on 31st Street in Temple.
Farley died at the scene.
Vargas and his mother were taken to Scott & White Hospital where Piedra later died.
Vargas was in coma for 11 days and didn't learn about his mother's death until weeks later.
"I was expecting to come home to at least two parents, but I only have one," Vargas said.
The 18-year-old spent more than five weeks in a rehabilitation facility in Austin where he re-learned how to do such things as chew, talk and walk with support from his family and especially his older sister Gracie Jimenez.
"I couldn't have handled it as good as him," Jimenez said.
"He's just been strong all the way, all the way...he got it in his head that he wasn't going to be in the rehab much longer, and he wasn't."
Vargas said there are some gaps in his memory, but he does remember that his mother was always there for him.
"She was always trying to get out there and help everybody that she could," he said.
And he says he'll never forget one of their last conversations in which she told him, "If I ever die, I don't want you to be like shut down or stop living your life, just continue...I know you love music, so just keep that up.”
He's taking that last piece of advice to heart.
Vargas will graduate from Temple High this spring and will go on to the University of Texas at Austin, where he will be a part of the Longhorn Marching Band, which would have made his mother proud.
"She's just been so proud of him through everything, and she's still proud of him," Jimenez said.