Man gets both prison time and forgiveness 2 years after Lubbock drunk driving crash

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas– Emma Wilson never thought she’d see the day to have her father alive to see her graduate from nursing school.

In April 2018, her father, James Wilson, was involved in a serious crash in East Lubbock.

Lubbock Police Officers were called to the 1700 block of East 24th Street, just before 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, following reports of a hit and run.

RELATED STORY: One Person Seriously Hurt in Crash, Another Arrested

When officers located James, he was taken to Covenant Medical Center for serious injuries.

Officers were able to determine through the initial investigation that the victim was driving a passenger vehicle on East 24th Street, while Juan Tanguma, 35, was driving a pickup truck northbound on Martin Luther King Boulevard, said police.

Juan Tanguma Mug 720
[photo of Tanguma provided by the Lubbock County Detention Center]

Police then said the two vehicles collided in the intersection.

Tanguma attempted to flee the scene after the collision, but was caught by a witness who brought him back to the scene, according to the investigation.

Emma Wilson said the chain of events that day changed everything.

She said James Wilson flew to Lubbock from Virginia Beach, because his sister passed away.

“He flew to Texas to bury her and attend her funeral,” said Emma Wilson.

She said she was cremated and her father needed to go back to his mother’s house to grab the urn to put her ashes in, said Emma Wilson.

“On his way back home to my grandmother’s house, he got hit,” she said.

Emma said as soon as she and her mother received the call, they took a flight from Virginia Beach to Texas the same night.

When they arrived at Covenant, they were told James wouldn’t make it through the night.

But Emma wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

James broke both of his clavicles, arms, legs, his hips and he was put on a ventilator.

His family was told multiple times that he was brain dead and they needed to start thinking about options.

“I gotta talk to God to see what the heck I’m gonna do,” said Emma.

Regardless of his outcome, she said she wanted to fly him home. What the family didn’t realize was how much his flight home was going to cost to bring him home.

After pulling out retirement funds and a credit card, the family was able to arrange for an air ambulance to fly him back to Virginia Beach for over $30,000.

The only catch was that James needed to be transported to another hospital who was willing to accept him as a patient, said Emma.

She said she was a registered nurse for a level one trauma hospital in Virginia Beach and was able to convince an attending on the trauma level to take her father’s case.

[photo provided by Emma Wilson]

Although James was unstable the whole flight home, Emma believed that God was at work.

She said the pilot on the flight was also a pastor.

“He had his hat, and it said ‘Jesus is my boss,’” said Emma. “ He took his hat off of himself and he put it on my dad. My dad was unstable the whole flight. But somehow, some way, he made it here.”

The recovery

Eventually, James woke up and was sent to a rehab center to begin his recovery. But then the unthinkable happened. He was given the wrong medication and suffered a heart attack, said Emma.

But James still made it through and finished his rehab.

“I brought him back to my house with my mom and now they’re living here,” said Emma.

James can now talk, walk and can even drive.

He said he was able to get his license back, and that he was thankful to wake up and get out of bed everyday.

Unfinished business

Months after James’ accident, Emma said the family was able to put his sister to rest.

After that, it was time to get back to normal and go back to get her degree to become a nurse practitioner.

“I was going to decline the acceptance but was encouraged to attend,” said Emma.

She graduated from school on May 8 from Virginia Commonwealth University and was so happy that her father could be there to witness her accomplishments.

“We’re real proud of her,” said James.

Learning to give and forgive

On March 12, Tanguma was sentenced to eight years in prison for aggravated assault, as a result of the crash that occurred in April 2018, according to court documents.

Originally, Tanguma was charged with failure to stop and render aid when he attempted to run from the crash, according to police.

However, Tanguma took a plea deal and was able to get that specific charge dropped. He was originally facing two to 20 years in prison, according to court documents.

Two years after the crash, Emma said she is still angry with Tanguma, but has since tried to forgive him for causing the crash.

But James had a different outlook on the situation.

“The way I look at it is it was an accident,” he said. “[Tanguma] tried to run away from the scene, but I don’t know the gentleman. I don’t have ill feelings about him.”

When mentioned that Tanguma was going to do prison time for the crash, James said he felt like that wouldn’t change anything.

“That doesn’t really do anything,” he said. “That doesn’t change anything. I harbor no ill feelings.”

James said the family wanted to believe what happened to him was a miracle.

“It may have been,” he added. “God does things in strange ways.”

James said whatever people choose to believe in, they have to learn how to live.

“You have to learn to give and forgive,” he added.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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