Man critical after SUV crashes into his bedroom

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Family members of Michael Gallegos work outside his home Friday morning to clean up damage caused by an SUV that crashed into his bedroom while he slept. Inside the bedroom, rubble from the home covered Gallegos broken bed.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A Clovis man was flown to a Lubbock hospital early Friday morning after an SUV crashed into his bedroom while he was sleeping.

Michael Gallegos, 57, is in stable condition, family members said. Injuries included a fractured vertebrae, a collapsed lung and a fractured eye socket.

Paul Apodaca Jr., 33, the driver of the vehicle, is charged with causing great bodily injury with a vehicle, aggravated DWI, leaving the scene of a crash with great bodily injury, two counts of criminal damage over $1,000 and one count of criminal damage under $1,000.

In addition he received citations for possession of marijuana under 1 ounce, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, an open container violation, no vehicle insurance and expired vehicle registration, police said.

Bond has not yet been set, jail officials said.

Police said neighbors heard the crash just before 2 a.m. and reported seeing Apodaca staggering away from the scene on foot.

If convicted on all charges, Apodaca faces around 7 years imprisonment and up to $5,000 fines, District Attorney Matt Chandler said.

Early Friday evening by phone from the hospital in Lubbock, Richard Gallegos said his uncle was improving. Gallegos had been taken off a respirator and had woken briefly.

“He spoke to us. He didn’t know what happened. He asked what day it was,” he said.

“We’re asking everybody just to pray and the prayers are being answered. It’s just amazing that he’s alive.”

Robert Gutierrez said his brother-in-law suffered multiple injuries including a broken back, dislocated eye, fractured skull and broken wrist.

Friday morning, a group of Gallegos family members were at his home cleaning up his east-corner bedroom. A gaping hole marked the point of impact, his bed hidden under a pile of rubble.

The crash occurred around 2 a.m. A white Ford SUV veered from the roadway on Ceasar Chavez Drive, going over the sidewalk, striking a neighbor’s mail box and the corner of their garage before crashing into Gallegos’ bedroom, Gutierrez said, pointing out the path.

Gallegos was thrown from his bed and into the wall in the hallway outside his room.

As family members carried blood-stained pillows and remnants of shattered furniture to a waiting pickup truck, Daniel Gallegos said his brother will likely have multiple surgeries before doctors are sure of his condition.