A second chance at life
During a sunny afternoon in Mazatlan, Mexico on the summer of 2016, Yazmin Urzua, a 19-year-old university student saw her whole life pass by.
Her best friends, Daniela Rodriguez and Maria Jose Escobar picked her up around 5 p.m. They were going to go hiking, as they had been doing it all summer.
“What I remember is getting on the car, putting my cellphone and water bottle on the seat, putting my seatbelt on, and starting to talk with my friends,” says Urzua.
As she lives on a hill in Downtown Mazatlan, her best friend's white FIAT was heading down, in an intersection, when a bus was coming very fast towards them.
Urzua heard both of her friends scream.
“ I looked to the left and I saw how the bus was coming our way,” she says.
Urzua saw the bus coming, she looked at the rear-view and noticed how Rodriguez, who was driving, let go of the steering wheel, and how Escobar bent to avoid danger.
The bus crashed in the car’s front bumper, hurting a man and a senior lady.
After the impact, Urzua says she heard a lot of people screaming, but she couldn’t assimilate what was happening.
“I looked around, the longest seconds of my life, and I saw Maria Jose getting off the car to help people who were screaming.”
The senior lady was fine, but the man hit by the car, cracked his head open and was taken to the hospital to get stitches.
Urzua says she checked if she had any injury but everything was right.
However, she couldn’t listen to Rodriguez.
“I thought a lot of things in a matter of seconds,” Urzua remembers.
She says the relief she felt when hearing her friends speak is unforgettable.
Urzua noticed that her brother suddenly appeared on the scene of the accident, trying to help.
Urzua’s brother, Roberto Urzua, remembers having lunch with his mom while Yazmin was waiting for her friends, and after she got out of the house, he heard a strong hit and the screeching of tires.
“I asked a neighbour: where did the crash happen? and he told me it was in another corner," he says.
“The worst was when he told me that the car that just crashed was the car my sister was in."
He ran as fast as he could, saw his sister and her friends, and asked them if they were okay.
Urzua got off the car and her brother, shaking, told her to go to see her mother because she was worried.
“I don’t remember how I got home,” says Urzua.
She only remembers seeing her mother outside her house, desperate, and with tears in her eyes.
“She, like myself, thought about the worst.”
She held back her tears because if she got weak, her friends and her mom would get weak too, and that was the last thing she wanted.
Urzua went back where the accident took place and saw her friends, who were still shocked, trying to help the people injured.
“There were a lot of people around us, and nobody did anything but to look at what happened.
“I felt a terrible impotence because nobody did anything for us."
Urzua remembers people suggesting to call an ambulance, but between whispers, some of them preferred not to do it just because Urzua and her friends were driving a brand new car, and assumed they were rich.
“It was terrible hearing everything in a matter of seconds.”
Urzua took care of everything; she called the ambulance, the car insurance, and her friend’s parents.
“Everything fell on me. I thought I was relaxed when in reality, I just wanted to be strong enough so no one fell apart.”
When an ambulance got to the scene of the accident, Rodriguez was taken on a stretcher.
“It was an enormous shock for me.I wasn’t sure if she was going to be okay.”
Then, Urzua saw her father.
“I remember his face of impact, because he only saw how the car ended up like.”
The vehicle was a total loss.
Urzua’s parents talked with the car insurance company and then headed to the hospital, where they spent the whole night with their daughter and her friends.
“We were checked, given medication, absolutely everything,” Urzua remembers.
Luckily, she and her friends only got minimum neck injuries, and getting home was a relief.
“I started thinking about everything and I couldn’t believe it.
“I didn’t sleep that night. I cried until I couldn’t any more.”
After the accident, Urzua feels grateful for life, her family and everything that surrounds her.
“In little time, you can see your whole life flash by.”
Urzua still has all the worried expressions and desperation of her parents in her mind.
“That is something I don’t ever want to see again.”
For Urzua, that night has been one of the hardest and heaviest nights of her life and the accident changed the way she sees life.
“Now I know that not everything is in my hands and that there are factors that influence everything.
“I don’t have to rush for anything. I have to enjoy every single thing I do.”
She says she now values more the people who surround her because she received a lot of affection.
“I realized that I wasn’t alone and there are people who support me and believe in me.”
She thinks the accident was a warning in her life.
“Maybe I was doing things that were not related to my convictions.
“It was a way to warn me that not everything was okay, contrary to what I thought.”
Urzua believes everything happens for a reason.
“There’s no better way to enjoy and live life than to be grateful about everything we encounter.
“Whether it’s good, bad, or terrible, those are life lessons that make us better persons.”