Photo of Geovannim son of Jose Luna
José Luna will turn 50 on Nov. 14. He is a carpenter by trade, and did community service in the municipal cemetery. On Aug. 9, Luna was at a bus stop in La Lomita neighborhood when a truck collided with the bus stop structure.
One man died at the scene, and José was injured. After a month of medical procedures, he ended up in a vegetative state. Today two investigations are open in the Regional Prosecutor’s D Office for this double crime. José’s relatives feel that justice has been slow, since authorities have not yet prosecuted any perpetrator, while relatives of the deceased man are mourning his loss. Relatives of both victims have found support in their community while waiting for justice to be served.
It all occurred on a Sunday:
José’s sons Brayan and Giovanni Luna remember that morning. While they were still in bed, their father told them, “I’m going to work. I left you money to buy food.” José was going to the cemetery to perform his hours of community service.
The brothers went back to sleep, but a loud knock at the gate woke them up. It was their neighbors who had come to tell them that their father had been in an accident at the bus stop. Brayan ran 20 minutes to another neighborhood to alert his sister Cielo. She was pregnant—her baby is now two months old.
José was transferred by the Red Cross to the general hospital as an unknown person. When Cielo arrived, she was told that she could not be given information due to her father’s state, and that because she was pregnant, she could not enter the hospital due to the contingency. So Cielo waited for José’s brothers to arrive and take control of the situation. Jesús, Cielo’s husband, suggested filing a complaint at the precinct.
Doctors at the hospital indicated that José needed surgery, but because the hospital didn’t have the necessary equipment, they transferred him to León three days later.
When José was returned to the hospital in San Miguel a month later, the doctor was clear: “We can’t do anything here anymore. They should take him home, and give him the best life they can,” Cielo recalls the doctor saying, aware that her father would never come out of his coma. The official diagnosis was brain death due to blunt trauma.
Back home, José was welcomed by his children and son-in-law. He lays in a special bed where his 12- and 17-year-old sons and 20-year-old daughter tube feed him. But it is not only their father’s health, their search for the person who provoked the accident, and finances that worry them. Added to the tragedy is their relatives’ interest in their land and house.
Despite support from neighbors, individuals, and institutions like the DIF with food, medical supplies, and a mechanical ventilator, the Luna family still needs help. “The help is [short-lived],” says a neighbor. As time passes, people forget that there is someone who needs help. Still, after almost three months, José’s family continues to receive support, albeit never enough.
No documents, no access to justice
At the Regional Prosecutor’s D Office is investigation file 72644/2020 for the complaint that Cielo filed. She told Atención that when she filed the complaint, she was not asked for identification. Now, however, she is denied access to the file and any information about case progress because she does not have an INE identification. The Prosecutor’s Office would not even accept a letter from the municipality verifying Cielo’s identity.
“The Prosecutor’s Office has not done anything. They ask us to bring witnesses—basically to bring the culprit; they ask for evidence in order to arrest the person responsible,” says Cielo, concerned. “They didn’t even assign us a public defender [to represent] the victim’s children,” and added, “we want justice. They also told us that they have already sent for the paramedics who assisted my father that day as witnesses, but they have not come forward.”
Atención corroborated this information with Red Cross Relief Coordinator John Burke, who indicated that the Prosecutor’s Office requested the record of José’s condition at the site of the accident. However, the Prosecutor’s Office has not submitted a formal request to the Red Cross that the paramedics submit a statement as witnesses.
Atención sent the Prosecutor’s Office a series of questions regarding the case, but the Communications Department bluntly responded, “Information is only given to those directly involved.” Cielo is directly involved, but even she has not been given information.
Justice hampered for the second victim
On the day of the incident, another man was waiting for his bus to go to work in Taboada. He was also hit by the vehicle, and died at the scene. One of his daughters is a university student and the other is only seven years old.
Atención spoke with a source close to this family, who shared her concern about the Prosecutor’s Office’s slow pace, although she understands that is how justice is—slow. “It seems that now they are piling obstacle upon obstacle upon obstacle on us. We have already given everything humanly possible to find out what happened and find the people responsible [in order to receive] justice, but nothing has happened,” says the source. She noted that the family has received poor treatment from staff at the Prosecutor’s Office. They have said, “What? Do you not work?” questioning if family members have nothing else to do but to ask about the status of the case.
“They provided us with a public defender. But there is no relationship of trust. We understand that in the Prosecutor’s Office matters are delayed, and that the office exists to protect the interests of those affected, but they do not provide us with answers, they give us the runaround,” said the source. Her voice trailed off and she concluded, “We only want one thing: justice.”
While José Luna is at home in a coma, the family requires permanent economic, nutritional, medical, and educational support. If you want to help, please contact Cielo Luna at 415 119 8822.