That he was left in a vegetative, coma-like state more than 31 years ago after a 1982 Temecula DUI crash that killed his brother and three other family members did not deter a Murrieta family from giving Mikey Cortez the best life they could.
Austin “Mikey” Cortez’s valiant battle to live continued until Dec. 27, 2013—just a day before he would have turned 39—when, surrounded by his parents and surviving family members, he died in their Murrieta home, according to an Associated Press report published Saturday on The Huffington Post.
He was 7 years old when the crash left him with severe brain damage; he would never walk or talk again.
Parents Paul and Roonie Cortez cared for Mikey throughout the years, taking him in his wheelchair to his siblings’ sporting events and on trips when Paul had speaking engagements for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, according to news reports.
The driver of the car that on March 26, 1982 smashed into the one carrying Mikey on Rancho California Road, also perished, according to an article published shortly after Mikey’s death in The Press-Enterprise. Mikey’s aunt, two cousins and brother died, as did the driver and his daughter, the newspaper reported.
Mikey died of renal failure. His memorial proceedings were handled locally by Evans-Brown Mortuary in Sun City.
Did you know Mikey? Leave your memories of him in the comments section below.