Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – It took three years, but on Wednesday the case of a young woman whose life was forever changed by a boating incident went to local court.
The young woman lost her leg in the accident on the Calcasieu river. At the time, the driver of the boat was arrested.
Boat operator Jason Comeaux came to court to eventually resolve the charges against him, but that did not happen. He ended up with a trial date.
As for the victim Paula Gonzales, she spoke of the day that changed her life forever.
It was July 28, 2018. Gonzales went from the boat to the water to retrieve his glasses when the propeller struck him.
“This is the last place I was seen with two legs, actually. My right leg got stuck with the propeller. I died twice. I flattened twice in the operating room and once in the helicopter, ”Gonzales said at the Civic Center seawall.
Comeaux was arrested and charged with first degree negligence injury, driving a vehicle while intoxicated and recklessly operating.
“Oh, it changed my whole life. I was 26 when it happened. I had two legs. I had two legs for 26 years, and having a prosthesis for two years has been a fad. very different lives, ”Gonzales said.
She hopes others will be aware of the potentially tragic consequences of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.
“Pay close attention to your surroundings. It’s not just yourself. These are the people who are by your side, ”Gonzales said.
Gonzales will soon be 30 and she cherishes life. She tries to inspire others.
“I have a small circle of people with traumatic accidents that I talk to on a daily basis, people with emotional support, with depression, stuff like that,” she said.
Gonzales now lives in Houston and has come to Lake Charles for Comeaux’s court appearance.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” Gonzales said.
It was a day when she was hoping to find “justice”, but the charges have not been resolved and Comeaux’s trial is set for September 20.
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