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Teen in coma dies from bicycle accident injuries

The Mexican youth had come here to help his father. He was struck by a car on Memorial Day.

By KYLA K. WILSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 27, 2000


When Joann Hurtado received a call from Bayfront Medical Center Sunday night just before 7, she knew what had happened, before the nurses could tell her.

Her 17-year-old nephew, Javier Yebra, who had been in a coma since Memorial Day, had died.

"I knew it was them. We were expecting this to happen," Hurtado said.

Yebra was hit by a car while riding his bike at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Drew Street on May 29. After three brain surgeries, he showed no improvement, and Javier's parents, Lorenzo and Maria Yebra, decided to take him off life support two weeks ago.

But Yebra developed a slight increase in brain activity, and doctors suggested they keep him on life support. This gave the family some hope. But Sunday evening at 6:10, Javier stopped breathing.

"He took a gasp of air and just went, just left," Hurtado said someone at the hospital told her.

The Yebras had been staying in temporary housing across from Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg when they got the call. Hurtado was at her home in Pinellas Park. After getting their calls, they went to say goodbye to him at Bayfront.

"When we went to the hospital, all of our emotions came out. It was tough," Hurtado said.

Javier had come to Largo from Guanajuato, Mexico, in January to work with his father. They worked busing tables and intended to send the money back to Javier's mother and his five siblings.

Now, Hurtado and the Yebras are trying to collect enough money to send Javier and his father back to Guanajuato on Friday. Mrs. Yebra had been staying here on a emergency visa that was to expire July 7.

"We're hoping by Friday to come up with money. We're relying on donations from family and friends to pay for bills to take him over there," Hurtado said.

The Yebras and Hurtado also have been concerned about the medical bills from Javier's care. They are not sure how they are going to pay for them.

"We haven't got the big bill yet, so we don't know yet," Hurtado said.

Hurtado and the Yebras are coping the best they can with Javier's death. She said they had been trying to prepare themselves for this day, and they are grateful for the support they received.

"They're very sad. They have always had an idea that this may happen," Hurtado said. "Thanks very much for all the prayers that we have received from our friends."

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