Alief ISD senior who was hit by cafeteria worker in crash graduates

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly 1,000 students graduated from Hastings High School on Wednesday.

The students wore masks and sat six-feet apart, but they were excited and hopeful.

No one was more ready to walk across the stage than Anthony Velazquez. His walk was slower than most because he had a slight limp.

"When I was in the hospital, I didn't think I would be able to walk or graduate," said Velazquez.

He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

He is weak on the entire left side of his body and his memory is still faulty.

"I don't remember my friend's names or family member's names," Velazquez said.

But he persevered through months of rehabilitation, and learned to walk again.

The driver who hit him, a cafeteria worker for Alief ISD, was seen speeding on surveillance video in front of Hastings High School.

Chinyere Iheagwam is now charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She is currently out of jail on bond, but is not allowed to drive without the court's approval.

Velazquez never made it back to school after the pandemic suspended all in-person learning.

But walking in front of hundreds at his graduation ceremony was a milestone.

"I feel like I can accomplish everything, like I can start something and finish something," Velazquez said.

He told ABC13 his next stop is going to community college to become a welder. He also said he wanted to help his mom who stayed by his side while he was in the hospital for three months.

"All my life we've lived in this apartment complex. I want to help my mom, to buy her a house," Velazquez said.


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