The aftermath of a car crash in Sylmar when Matthew Meredith collided with a tree after reportedly being cut off by another driver.

One week after a tragic car crash in Sylmar, San Fernando resident Matthew Meredith is still hospitalized in intensive care recovering from three surgeries. The family plans to launch an online crowdfunding campaign to cover the medical bills of the young man, who turned 19 years of age a few weeks before the May 24 accident.

So far LAPD has not determined who is at fault for the incident. There are unconfirmed reports that the driver of a black Escalade SUV fled the scene after allegedly causing the tragedy and that a witness provided police with that vehicle’s license plate number. 

Detective Ostrina, with the Traffic & Homicide’s Valley Traffic Division in Panorama City, says that an investigation is ongoing and that no arrests have been made in the case. “We have identified and contacted all parties involved [in the incident],” Ostrina said but declined to name who those people are. He also declined to say if any arrests are imminent. “We’re still investigating,” he states. 

Meredith’s sister, Valeria Enriquez, claims an LAPD officer present at the accident scene told her that there are “five witnesses” who spoke with police, including a van driver that allegedly provided the license plate of the black Escalade and a description of the woman driving the vehicle. She also claims that that officer told her the police have two videos of the accident provided by witnesses. Detective Ostrina declined to confirm the number of witnesses that have come forward and if videos of the incident are in police possession. 

Meredith crashed his car into a tree on Hubbard Street, between San Fernando Road and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, after reportedly being cut off by the black Escalade. He was driving his dark Infiniti Q50 on his way to pick up his younger sister at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, according to Enriquez. His family fears that the man could suffer permanent brain damage and become paralyzed because his pelvic fractures are close to the spine. 

Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Enriquez, mother of 19-y-o car-accident victim Matthew Meredith of San Fernando.

The crash victim is expected to remain at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills for at least a month, where doctors have made progress on some of his multiple injuries, according to the patient’s relatives. “His lungs are no longer bleeding internally,” says Jacqueline Enriquez, the young man’s mother, but noted that he remains on a respirator. “Doctors hoped to be able to remove a tube [from his lungs] but ultimately decided against it,” she says. “I understand that his lungs are doing better but the respirator helps him breathe better.”

Meredith’s brain is still swollen but doctors have drained its bleeding, according to the mother. “I’m very grateful for all the care that doctors have given my son at Holy Cross,” she says.

Anticipating a long hospital stay and recovery afterward, the family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds to pay for medical and recovery expenses. The family is also asking for prayers for Meredith.

The tree in Sylmar on Hubbard Street, between San Fernando Road and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, that Matthew Meredith crashed his car into after reportedly getting cut off by another driver. (SFVS Staff)

Although the family claims to have full coverage insurance and Meredith has Medi-Cal, they aren’t sure if all medical bills will be covered. “My son also had Medi-Cal but I’m having to request a recertification from the program to ensure he’s taken care of, all with the help of a social worker,” says Jacqueline. The mother says she has some money saved to help her stay by her son’s side every day but not enough for medical bills and potential long therapy once he’s discharged. “We are a working-class family, we don’t have properties,” she says. “We don’t know how much all this is going to cost. We still don’t know how his brain is going to respond. And we don’t know if he’ll walk again.”

“We have car insurance but don’t know what the coverage limit is,” says Valeria, adding she plans to hire an attorney to file an insurance claim once a police accident report is available.

Those with information regarding the incident are encouraged to call Det. Ostrina at (818) 644-8036.

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