Principal injured by accused DUI driver inspires students, colleagues

SOUTH MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Students at South Dade Senior High School watched Principal Javier Perez’s interview with 7News, Thursday, his first since his legs were amputated after a suspected drunk driver hit him in April.

Perez said he wanted to inspire his students with the interview, and Thursday, his students said he did just that.

“I’m not a victim,” Perez said in that interview. “This was maybe a gift from God because He knew I could handle it, and then the beautiful things that we’re going to be able to do together.”

Cops said 51-year-old Marilyn Aguilera was driving drunk when she slammed her SUV into Perez as he watched his 5-year-old son play in a Little League game at a West Miami-Dade park.

“Since I woke up a month after the accident, there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve thought about the past or felt sorry for myself,” Perez said.

Javier’s wife, Maytee Perez, has been by his side ever since that day.

“I prayed for a miracle, and that’s all I prayed for for the first ten hours,” she said. “Just for a miracle, and I have my miracle: Javier’s here, and my kids will see him grow old.”

Acting Principal Juan De Armas said Javier’s courage inspired everyone at the school.

“He’s a guy who’s very courageous, and he continues to inspire everybody by his courage and his determination,” De Armas said.

Students like Jamal Melvin and Melissa Masis said Javier’s positivity showed courage.

“It takes a lot of guts to think in a positive way after he lost both of his legs,” Melvin said.

“It feels great that he’s getting better, and I’m happy for him,” Masis said.

Perez still needs the community’s help. His prosthetic legs need to be replaced every five years and each pair costs more than $100,000. He’s still in daily rehabilitation, but through it all, he looks forward to the day he’ll be back at the school he loves.

“God knew that we would be able to handle it,” his wife said.

Her husband agreed. “Absolutely, He knew we would be able to handle it and make something good out of the situation,” Perez said, “and I can’t wait to be back there.”

If you would like to help the Perez family with medical expenses, go to gofundme.com/JaviPerez.

Perez will also be throwing the first pitch at the Marlins game in several weeks. If you would like to get your tickets to that game, go to marlins.com/JaviStrong. Part of the proceeds will go to Perez’s family.

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