This photo was taken by a neighbor shortly after the car crash.

19-Year-Old San Fernando Resident Is In Critical Condition Facing Possible Brain Damage and Paralysis

A 19-year-old San Fernando man remains hospitalized in critical condition after crashing his car into a tree on Hubbard Street in Sylmar after reportedly being cut off by another driver who fled the scene of the accident on Wednesday afternoon, May 24.

Matthew Meredith is currently hospitalized at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills with head trauma, broken ribs, and pelvis, according to his older sister Valeria Enriquez. She says her family fears Meredith could suffer permanent brain damage and become paralyzed because his pelvic fractures are close to the spine. 

His mother, Jacqueline, has not left his side. She said her son is expected to require several surgeries and while she is wrought with worry, it was important to her to express her gratitude to the doctors. Matthew has had swelling of the brain and has been in a coma, but she is grateful that the hospital medical team has successfully lessened the blood that was pressuring the vital organ. 

According to Enriquez, Meredith was driving on Hubbard to pick up his younger sister at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills after 3:30 p.m. However, the brother never made it to the campus. “I was working when I received a phone call around 4 o’clock that my brother had never arrived at my sister’s school,” says Enriquez, adding that her brother wouldn’t answer any calls. She then used her phone’s GPS to ping Meredith’s location, showing static on Hubbard Street between San Fernando Road and Laurel Canyon in Sylmar. After reloading a few minutes later, the phone displayed a relocation: Providence Holy Cross.

Enriquez called the medical center to find out if her brother had been taken there and was told by staff there were no records of anyone admitted with his description or name. A short moment later, Enriquez received a call “from an operator” saying that her brother’s car had been involved in a “trauma accident” and “they were doing everything to save his life.”

According to Enriquez, San Fernando Police were the first responders at the accident scene and then handed it over when LAPD arrived. The investigation is being handled by the LAPD as Sylmar is part of the City of Los Angeles. 

While the police investigation isn’t complete, Enriquez says a police detective from LAPD Traffic & Homicide’s Valley Traffic Division in Panorama City told her that five witnesses reported an SUV, a black Cadillac Escalade, made an illegal turn that caused her brother to veer off the road.

Some witnesses sought the family out and told them that the driver of the Escalade stopped briefly with the blinkers on and then fled the scene.

Also, Enriquez says she was told one witness caught the Escalade’s license plate number and did get a description of the woman driving the SUV, both of which were reportedly provided to police.

The LAPD has not yet released that information.

She says the accident is being investigated as a possible “hit and run”. 

As per the CHP, while the driver did not hit Meredith’s car, her illegal maneuver is still viewed as a “hit and run”, while unintended, her action may have caused him to lose control of his car. And if you fail to wait for police and leave the scene, it can be investigated as a “hit and run.” 

Various photos of the accident on social media show the badly crumpled car lodged into a tree on the driver’s side door.

Through Facebook, Enriquez learned some residents living in houses near the tragic accident had video recordings of it. When she tried to get those videos, she was asked to pay for them, claims Enriquez. She later learned that police detectives have collected at least two videos. It’s not clear if they’re the same videos Enriquez attempted to obtain.

While glad that Meredith is under professional care at Providence Holy Cross, his family worries about the days ahead as the young man faces various surgeries, and they ask for community support. 

“All we need is prayers to make sure he doesn’t wake up with permanent damage, that’s it,” Enriquez said. 

“Everything else can be figured out,” she adds. “We can take out loans to pay for his (hospitalization), we can (fix) his teeth, but brain damage? He’s 19 years old with brain damage, you’re not fixing that.”

Meredith started an automobile business before the accident. “He’s an auto broker, he was successful for a 19-year-old,” she says. “That’s almost gone if he has brain damage.”

There is also concern the young man might not walk again. “If the surgery is not successful, Matt can become paralyzed because there’s three fractures on his pelvis too close to the spine,” says Enriquez, adding, “All because someone made an illegal red turn.”

Diana Martinez contributed to this article.

If you have information about this accident, contact Detective Brizula at LAPD Valley Traffic Division: (818) 644-8000

One reply on “A Search for Driver Who Fled Horrific Crash in Sylmar”

  1. Prayers for the young man; this story is so sad. It is disgusting that the “good neighbors” whose ringcams happened to catch the accident tried to extort money out of the boy’s tearful Mother as she pleaded with them for the footage, which is necessary to complete the investigation, in light of the fact that the other driver fled the scene. In addition to being cold hearted and calculating, the “good neighbors” apparently aren’t so bright, as it’s not hard to deduce which houses they occupy. LOL. Hopefully no taxpayer cash was given to any of them by LAPD in exchange for their “neighborly support” of this tragic accident investigation. Many prayers going up for the boy and his family

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