Dad Helped Stranded Driver — and the Heroic Act Almost Ended His Life: 'It Happened So Fast' (Exclusive)

Abraham Montes planned to have a bonfire with his kids when he got home from work — instead, he ended up fighting for his life after being hit by a car

Abraham Montes stopped to help a stranded driver on a rural Texas bridge last year and it almost cost him his life.

Montes and another good Samaritan were on the phone with 911 dispatchers when a car sped onto the bridge. Montes shielded the woman standing beside him and was hit by the oncoming car himself.

After fighting for his life, Montes shares his story with PEOPLE to let others know that "there are still good people in the world.”

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After work on Jan, 24, 2022, Montes followed a coworker home to pick up some wood to build a bonfire. He wanted to cook crawfish and toast marshmallows at his home with his kids, then 2 and 3.

It was dark by the time he saw a black car without any lights on stopped atop the Brazos Bridge.

“I swerved out of the way and I parked my truck at the bottom of the bridge,” Montes, now 27, remembers. “I was like, ‘Somebody’s going to hit him.’”

<p>Bob Levey</p> Abraham Montes at the power generation plant where he works in Texas

Bob Levey

Abraham Montes at the power generation plant where he works in Texas

Montes got out of his car, asked the driver if he was okay and then suggested he turn on his hazard lights. Another good Samaritan, a woman who knew the driver, stopped to help as well. All three were on the phone with emergency dispatchers when he was struck.

“I had my back turned,” Montes recalls. “Then I heard a car speeding…. I turned around and I saw headlights, but she didn’t stop.”

He can’t remember all the details of the accident, but he knows how it ended.

"The car hit me, broke my pelvis and ruptured my bladder,” he says.

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He tried to get up, but he couldn’t move his legs.

A witness talked to him until an ambulance arrived, asking if he was married and how many kids he had. “He was like, 'It looked like you got hit by a grenade,’" Montes says. “And he was in the Army. He’s seen some rough stuff.”

The driver Montes originally stopped to help went over the bridge and into the shallow river below.

“I’m not sure if the original guy jumped off or he got hit and flew off, because it happened so fast,” he says. “He fell over the bridge and he didn’t make it.”

Montes didn’t think he would survive either. He called his wife to say goodbye. “I told her I loved her, and I loved the kids,” he says.

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By the time his now-27-year-old wife, Martha Montes, arrived at the scene, the ambulance was leaving. At Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, she stayed by his side in the ER as doctors worked to stabilize him.

“All the doctors thought I was going to pass away, and they wanted her to be there while I was still alive,” he says. “She says it was 10 times worse than a movie scene.”

<p>Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family</p> Abraham Montes and family

Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family

Abraham Montes and family

Montes spent over a month at Memorial Hermann hospital, fighting for his life.

“Everything was broken and mushed together,” he says. “They put a metal girdle around my waist and they crunched everything together to put everything where it should be.”

“I was trying to stay alive, because my kids were real little,” he adds. “I didn’t want them to lose me and grow up without a father.”

He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t feed himself, and he couldn’t talk without running out of breath.

He was transferred to a nursing home/rehabilitation center closer to his home in Bay City and it took about three months before he could walk again.

<p>Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family</p> Abraham Montes and family

Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family

Abraham Montes and family

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He has had more than 30 surgeries to date to fix internal injuries, internal bleeding, and fluid buildup in his heart as well as having a metal rod inserted in his leg.

“I’ve been having surgery after surgery,” Montes says. (A GoFundMe was established to help cover his medical expenses.)

He still has a catheter and can’t use the restroom, but he’s hoping his next surgery in October will fix that. And now, one year and seven months after the accident, he finally returned back to work as a plant operator at an NRG coal and gas fired power plant on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

<p>Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family</p> Abraham Montes

Courtesy of the Abraham Montes Family

Abraham Montes

There are two ways to view his story, he says. One: It’s good to help people. Two: Don’t help people, because you can get hurt if you do.

For him, the choice is a no-brainer.

“I’m still going to help people,” he says and he’s going to raise his kids to be helpers too.

But, he adds, if he drives up on another accident, next time, he won’t get out of his vehicle, but he will call 911. “I’ll still help,” he says.

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