Glendale man loses both legs after suspected drunk driver pins him against car

Jeremiah Washington was getting clothes out of the trunk when the driver, Jerry Hernandez, reportedly drove into him.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 8:41 PM MST
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GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A 23-year-old Glendale father has been released from the hospital more than a month after an accused drunk driver pinned him against his own car. “They didn’t hear no screeching from somebody trying to slow down, it was quiet. He said it was the most peaceful moment he’s ever had,” said his mother, Belinda Welch. “He heard the boom and he turned to look and he’d seen his legs and he tried to take a few steps, he couldn’t, he fell.”

Welch said Jeremiah Washington’s brother was dropping him off at his apartment complex. Washington was getting clothes out of the trunk when the driver, Jerry Hernandez, drove into him. “When I did speak with the doctor he said he’s never seen anything like this — the kind of injuries my son sustained were injuries as if he was in combat and stepped on an explosive. His legs exploded,” Welch said.

Both of Washington’s legs had to be amputated. “I would do anything. I told him, if God could take my legs right now and doctors could give him my legs, I would give my life up for my son to have legs and walk again and be normal,” Welch said through tears. “It’s an everyday memory. It’s never going to go away for my son and the man that did this is able to go on with his life as if nothing ever happened.”

Hernandez was initially arrested but then released on bond. On July 27th, Glendale Police resubmitted charges, and the case is currently under review by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. According to court documents, Hernandez tried to walk away from the scene, claiming he had to use the bathroom. Police say he admitted to having a few beers. According to the report, his BAC was .109, and this wasn’t his first DUI-related crime.

“I don’t know what we need to do for the judge to have kept this man in jail for what he did to my son. He destroyed our entire family,” Welch said. “I just want justice for my son. I want answers as to why, why he had multiple, multiple, multiple chances to make things right. And he didn’t. He continued to repeat his same pattern of life and destroyed my family and my son’s life. There is nothing I can say to him to get him to change his life. Maybe in time I can forgive him, but right now, I’m nowhere near that.”

Washington is now back at home, adjusting to his new lifestyle. “He says he feels useless. He can’t work; he was having a hard time picking up his son, he couldn’t do that. Just the everyday things we take for granted, he can’t do it anymore,” Welch said.

The family started a GoFundMe to help raise money for prosthetics and other medical expenses. “They run anywhere from $40,000-50,000 per leg,” Welch said. “I want him to be able to run with his son, swim with his son, ride a bike with his son. He hasn’t even enjoyed those times yet. I want him to be able to continue life the way he knew it, the best he can.”