Injured Craig man healing

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Jacob Martinez said he's never tasted better red Jell-O than he had Monday, recovering from a car accident at Denver's Health Medical Center. It was the first food that the Craig man has had since he was seriously injured in a car accident on U.S. Highway 40 on Thursday morning.

Although doctors who have performed three surgeries on Martinez say he's lucky to be alive -- he has another operation on his hips today -- Martinez probably will bounce back from the multiple fractures that riddle his body, said his wife, Anita.

"He's a strong person," she said. "If the doctors say he'll walk in six months, I bet it will be in three months."

Jacob, 26, works as a certified surgical technician at the Yampa Valley Medical Center. He was on his way to work from Craig on Thursday when his white 2000 Chrysler Concord collided head-on with a vehicle driven by a 34-year-old Idaho Springs man who was attempting to pass a dump truck. Jacob said Monday that he suffered from broken ankle fractures on both legs, a broken left arm, a pelvis fracture, and he needed a skin graft.

"I was pretty lucky from the way I was smashed up," he said. "My ankles and legs pretty much cracked in half."

Anita said she was talking to her husband on his cell phone when he was commuting to work Thursday. When he cut out, Anita said she had a feeling that something was terribly wrong.

"I called his called work and I said, 'don't you think odd that he's not there yet' because he's always early," Anita said.

Anita didn't know for certain what was wrong until she drove along highway looking for him and came across the accident scene about four miles west of Steamboat Springs. She instantly recognized his smashed car.

Jacob first was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center and later to the Denver hospital by ambulance. During the weekend that the family was in the hospital, the couple's daughter, Gillian, turned 4, and the little girl had planned an ice-skating party. But Gillian still got to have her party, which made her happy, Anita said.

Anita said that having her husband work in the medical field is making the hospital procedures easier. Jacob was able to translate medical terms from doctors, sometimes pitching in to her, "Oh, you don't have to worry about that," Anita said.

Jacob is expected to have another surgery and recuperate at the Steamboat hospital. Anita said the accident probably wouldn't deter him from wanting to continue in the medical field after his bones heal.

"He keeps talking about getting his classes done (to re-certify),"Anita said. "That's his passion."

Anita said the unfortunate experience has prompted loads of community support and even a visit from the international leader of the group Mothers Of Preschoolers, of which Anita is a member. It also has brought the couple closer and given them a newfound appreciation of their family.

"It's made us a lot closer," she said. "We know that we have we have our kids. I said to all the nurses that I'm happy to have a husband at the end of the day."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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