OAKLAND, Calif. – A window washer who fell 11 stories from a downtown San Francisco building onto a moving car last month is preparing to leave the hospital for a rehabilitation facility where he hopes to walk again.
Pedro Perez, 58, fractured his pelvis, broke an arm, ruptured an artery in his arm, and sustained severe brain trauma when he landed on the Toyota Camry after falling from the top of a bank building in San Francisco's financial district on Nov. 21. The car's driver was not injured.
Perez spent a week in a medically induced coma and still can't move his right arm and leg. But just a month after the fall, he has amazed doctors who originally said it would be months before he could leave the hospital, his wife, Maricela Perez told reporters on Monday.
"They are saying it's a miracle," she said through a translator.
Maricela Perez spoke in Spanish about her husband's recovery at his union shop in Oakland. She said he is in good spirits, complaining about the hospital food and even joking about returning to work down the line, although the couple has agreed it won't be as a window washer.
She said she thought he was dead for the first hour after she heard about the accident. At first, her husband could not recognize members of their extended family, but his memory is slowly improving, she said.
"As a wife, I am very grateful to have my husband for the holidays," she said.
Union organizer Colin O'Leary said worker's compensation would be expected to pay for the cost of Perez's hospitalization and rehabilitation. But without the man's income, the family needs money to help cover rent, utilities, food and school supplies for their two youngest daughters, ages 11 and 16.
Marciela Perez, who works in a plastic factory in San Leandro, California, where the family also lives, said she is working extra hours and the couple's 19-year-old daughter has dropped out of college to help her family.
"It's not easy to be here asking for help," the wife said Monday. "But Pedro was always a very hard worker and he was the one helping us make ends meet."
San Francisco's financial district was bustling at 10 a.m. on the day of the fall and witnesses described hearing the man screaming and seeing a blue streak and his shadow as he fell onto the moving car, crushing its roof and sending shattered glass flying into the street.
Nearly two dozen people ran to Perez, who was on his back. He was lucid, though he was bleeding.
Perez worked for Concord, California-based Century Window Cleaning for 12 years, his wife said. Company officials declined comment Monday.
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