WHERE: Tijuana Flats, 13770 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden
WINTER GARDEN — A Winter Garden family will be forever grateful that a motorist was stranded with a flat tire at one particular spot on State Road 429 Jan. 3.
The man has been credited with saving 23-year-old Cody Lowery after his car swerved off Hartzog Road, flipped and ejected him into a secluded area of a burned-out orange grove.
Hartzog and S.R. 429 run parallel to each other north of Seidel Road.
The stranded motorist, known only as Liam to the Lowerys, heard the crash and ran toward the noise, finding Lowery on the ground. Liam called 911, and it took the helicopter 25 minutes to find them and get to them, said Kristi Baird Lowery, Cody’s mother.
He was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries including a broken shoulder and ribs, cracked vertebrae in his neck and spine, multiple cuts and a big section of skin torn from his left thigh.
Cody Lowery had three surgeries during his two-and-one-half-week stay in the hospital, and he returned Feb. 2 for the first of several skin-grafting surgeries. Doctors used skin from his other thigh for the graft, and Kristi Lowery said it went well.
“It will be a long recovery process,” she said. “He will have to go home with a wound-care nurse and lots of physical therapy because he lost a lot of muscle in that leg. He’ll have a few scars, but he’s here.”
After his fourth surgery, Cody Lowery wrote on this Facebook page: “I really appreciate all the love and support I have received from everyone. From the bottom of my heart, I’m very thankful, and it’s meant the world to me.”
Cody Lowery is currently on medical leave from his job as a technician with Advanced Mechanical Services; his friends organized a fundraiser to help with bills and other expenses. The car wash is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, in the parking lot of Tijuana Flats, 13770 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden. Donations are being accepted.
Last week, The Tasting Room at Chef’s Table in downtown Winter Garden donated a portion of the proceeds during Make A Difference Monday.
“We just appreciate everything that everybody has done,” Kristi Lowery said of her and her husband, Marty Lowery. “Everybody has been very nice with the support, the calls …”
A family friend, Sandi Bradshaw Williams, also set up an account at GiveForward.com.
Liam, who lives in Lakeland, has told the family that once Cody Lowery is back on his feet, he would like to meet the family. The Lowerys are grateful for his tremendous act of kindness and want to meet him, too.
Kristi Lowery said, “The Florida Highway Patrol told us that if Liam hadn’t gone down to help, (Cody) wouldn’t have been found for days.”