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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 10:46 pm | Fair 50º


Santa Maria Community Rallies to Help 10-Year-Old Boy Severely Injured in Crash Near Nipomo

Tunnell School sixth-grader Elijah Olivas battling for life at Stanford hospital while family friends step up fundraising efforts back home

Elijah Olivas, 10, of Santa Maria, is an avid wrestler, a passion that his family hopes will serve him well as he fights for his life after suffering gruesome injuries in a car crash near Nipomo.
Elijah Olivas, 10, of Santa Maria, is an avid wrestler, a passion that his family hopes will serve him well as he fights for his life after suffering gruesome injuries in a car crash near Nipomo. (Olivas family photo)

As Elijah Olivas fights for his life in a Bay Area hospital, fundraisers are underway to support the Santa Maria boy who was critically injured in a horrific crash last week near Nipomo.

The first benefit for the 10-year-old’s family is planned for Tuesday night at Applebee’s, 1415 S. Bradley Road in Santa Maria. 

The restaurant will donate 15 percent of its customers’ checks between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesday under the Dining to Donate program, according to a flier promoting the initiative. Customers must show a paper or digital copy of the flier to their server.

Elijah’s dad, Jason Olivas, is grateful for the support as he and his wife, Maria, remain near their son at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto.

“I don’t have the words to thank everybody,” he told Noozhawk.

Elijah was injured Monday when he was ejected from a car that overturned on Thompson Road near Wineman Road, south of Nipomo in San Luis Obispo County.

According to authorities, the 16-year-old driver lost control when an adult in the car, a Toyota Avalon, allegedly began assaulting the teenager, choking him at one point.

The sedan’s three passengers — including Elijah and his 13-year-old brother — were sitting in the back seat, the San Luis Obispo County Tribune reported.

Olivas said investigators told him that Elijah was ejected after his seatbelt buckle became unlatched during the physical altercation in the car. His other son suffered a concussion in the wreck.

John Gilbert Martinez Jr., 57, of Guadalupe, faces seven charges, including assault causing great bodily injury, felony battery, willful cruelty to a child, interfering with a driver’s control of a vehicle and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Martinez, a coach with the Guadalupe Wrestling Club, remained in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on Saturday night with bail set at $100,000, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

After the crash, Elijah was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center and then quickly flown by helicopter the same night to Palo Alto.

A fundraiser for the family of Elijah Olivas is planned for Applebee’s in Santa Maria on Tuesday. The 10-year-old boy was critically injured in a crash last week. Click to view larger
A fundraiser for the family of Elijah Olivas is planned for Applebee’s in Santa Maria on Tuesday. The 10-year-old boy was critically injured in a crash last week. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“He’s an amazing kid,” Olivas said of his son, a sixth-grader at Tunnell Elementary School in Santa Maria and an avid wrestler.

“He’s got the biggest heart,” he added. “He’s got the most determination, though. He does not like to lose, not even a coin toss. ... He’s just so caring and generous.”

Olivas said Elijah once gave a wrestling medal he had earned to another boy to console him after a loss.

“He’s just an awesome little guy,”  Olivas said.

As a result of the crash, Elijah suffered skull fractures, a fractured jaw, an amputated hand, a broken arm, a collapsed lung and a broken pelvic bone.

“Just so many things,” Olivas said with a big sigh.

On Friday, Elijah’s family and friends celebrated small but vital  improvements: His brain swelling was going down and a monitor could be removed.

But the road to recovery will be long, with many surgeries ahead, medical professionals have told the family.

Elijah’s parents are grateful for the vast support they are receiving from the hospital staff.

“We’re doing good due to the fact the support staff that this hospital has for the parents,” Olivas said. “It’s unreal ... It’s the ultimate feeling as a parent to see all these people doing what they’re doing for my son, caring for him — we don’t have the words.

“Right now we don’t have the words to thank everybody. We don’t know how. It’s just overwhelming for us.”

The Olivases are staying at a nearby Ronald McDonald House at Stanford to remain close to their son.

Days after the frightful crash, Olivas is still expressing appreciation for good Samaritans at the crash scene, one of whom quickly applied a tourniquet to Elijah’s bleeding arm and properly placed his severed hand in an ice chest so it could be reattached.

A woman consoled the emotional dad, who collapsed to the ground at the scene after being summoned by his son, Jason.

“I wish I knew who these people were,” Olivas said. “It was awesome.”

In addition to the benefit at Applebee’s, a relative said other fundraisers are planned to help the family. Olivas has been off work since the crash to be near his son and Maria is a stay-at-home mom.

“We have plenty more that are going to come up,” said Angelina Perez, a cousin of Maria Olivas.

Little Caesars Pizza stores reportedly have set out donation jars. Another Olivas cousin wants to hold an event at his hair salon. A friend is talking about a car show next year. Someone else is making T-shirts to sell.

Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been set up to accept donations.

Support for Elijah and his family has come in other forms, as students from Tunnell School have made cards and banners.

“So much support from everywhere,” Olivas exclaimed. “That is really helping us get through.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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