A soldier returned to North Texas from Iraq only to end up in a fight for his life after he was involved in a motorcycle crash in Dallas.
A driver slammed into Army Cpl. Zacharie Perez from behind near the Beltline Road exit on the Dallas North Tollway as he was on his way home from work.
“I survived Iraq and almost died on the Dallas North Tollway,” he said.
Video from the North Texas Tollway Authority's traffic camera shows the driver of a sport utility vehicle swerve to avoid running over Perez.
“I remember a loud crash and pushing myself back to the far left lane and trying to get up, but I was in too much pain,” Perez said.
The 25-year-old spent five days in Parkland Hospital. He lost his spleen, fractured a rib and broke four vertebrae in his back.
The driver of the vehicle that hit him was issued three traffic citations -- not having a driver’s license, no having insurance and failure to maintain speed.
“He gets three tickets, and I get sent to the hospital," Perez said. "It’s just frustrating."
But after seeing the video, Perez said he can’t help but acknowledge that he’s the lucky one.
“After seeing how far I was thrown, it’s hard to believe I’m alive and that I’m able to walk,” he said.
Perez proposed to his girlfriend of two years the night he got out of the hospital. She said yes -- on the condition that he never get back on a motorcycle.
“I still like motorcycles, but I won’t be riding one anytime soon or ever again for that matter," he said.