Chick-Fil-A fundraiser night for crash victim Cesar Perez set for Monday

Blakeley Bartee

Cesar Perez, a Georgia Southern University alumnus, survived a serious accident on I-16 last month. A drunk driver hit his car head-on, propelling him into a semi-truck, according to his girlfriend, Chelsea Rodriguez.

To help cover Perez’s medical expenses and other accumulating expenses, Rodriguez, senior exercise science major, organized a fundraiser night at the Statesboro Chick-Fil-A, located on Northside Drive.

The fundraiser, scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12, has a Facebook event page, from which Rodriguez may predict an approximate head count.

About Cesar Perez

Cesar Perez graduated from GS in 2015 with a degree in multimedia communication.

“He was involved in so many other things [outside of his major]. He was doing personal training. He was a big gym rat,” Rodriguez said. “He was doing music as well. He plays instruments and sings, so a lot of times, he was in the Foy Building.”

Beyond his activities in physical fitness and music, Perez is a Chick-Fil-A aficionado. Rodriguez said he used to eat Chick-Fil-A “all the time.”

“All I can say from the bottom of my heart [is] Cesar brings joy to everyone around him. He’s the most optimistic person I know. Everybody that meets him just falls in love with him,” Rodriguez said.

Aftermath of the car crash

According to WTOC, Perez was on his way home to Savannah from Atlanta when the a driver in the wrong lane hit his car, causing him to spin in front of a semi-truck.

“People thought [Perez] wasn’t going to make it because they had to revive him twice in the ambulance. It was just a really bad accident,” Rodriguez said.

After suffering multiple facial fractures, a broken left femur and brain contusions, Perez is recovering at a rehabilitation hospital, according to Rodriguez.

“So far, he’s had a lot of progress. He can see now. He’s not able to talk at the moment because of his trachea… They had to put a breathing tube in his throat,” Rodriguez said. “Right now, he’s just at [a rehabilitation hospital] doing physical therapy, trying to regain mobility and walk. There’s nothing wrong with his spine or anything, and his brain is perfectly fine… He’s slowly getting there, but it’s going to be a long recovery process.”

Rodriguez said a lot of costs are accumulating for Perez and his family, like the cost of his medical expenses, apartment and lawyers.

In the aftermath of the crash, Rodriguez said she would advise people to get an Uber rather than drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“A lot of times, when we’re young, especially in high school, we’re taught ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ We always go through those seminars in the auditorium or gymnasium… At first, though, you don’t realize the impact it could have on you until it happens to you,” Rodriguez said.

Perez’s family has created a GoFundMe page. As of Feb. 7, they have raised nearly $27,000.

Rodriguez said, “We say we can take control of our lives, but unfortunately, we also gotta depend on the actions of others. I’m happy that [Perez] is progressing, and I’m happy that the guy who did this is in jail now… It would be wonderful if stuff like this could just be prevented.”