Jonathan Esqueda, a standout football player at Carpinteria High, suffered multiple serious injuries in a car accident late Saturday night.
Carpinteria football coach Ben Hallock reported the news at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.
Hallock didn’t have any details on the accident, but he said Esqueda suffered a head injury and several broken bones. He was in the intensive care unit at Cottage Hospital early Sunday and was later transferred to a regular hospital room. His condition was upgraded from serious to stable.
“We’re very thankful how he is beginning to recover,” an emotional Hallock said. “They have every expectation that he’s going to have a full recovery. That’s good news for us.”
Hallock said Esqueda, 17, was wearing a seat belt and the car he was driving had side impact airbags.
“Those things probably saved his life,” the coach said.
According a KEYT report, Esqueda’s Mazda sedan was hit in the side by a Toyota SUV at Linden Ave. and El Carro Lane. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the accident. The Sheriff reported that three people in the SUV fled the scene, but two were later caught.
Esqueda is the leading rusher for the Warriors with 538 yards on 73 carries. He also is one of the leading tacklers on defense with 38 tackles as a defensive back. He’s also a standout on the track team.
Hallock reported that Esqueda was unconscious when he was admitted into the hospital and didn’t wake up until early Sunday morning.
“When he did wake up the first thing he wanted to know was if he’d be out in time to go to football practice on Monday,” Hallock said. “Then he said, ‘Did you know that Oak Park beat Bishop Diego.‘
“We are very thankful he is making a recovery, and we’re doing everything we can to support him and his family,” Hallock added.
The Carpinteria coach went on talk about the value of athletics in high school.
“This is arena where we get to teach kids and give them an opportunity to experience things in their life that are difficult to do any place else,” he said. “Things like physical and mental toughness, resilience, having a goal orientation, that never-quit attitude, tested in your fiber, the mettle of your character, dealing with defeat and disappointment, setbacks; that willingness to have that resilience and resolve to come back and get better.
“It’s also about being surrounded by a community of people and peers that give you great support and love. Right now (Jonathan is) experiencing that. We are going to rally that support for him and his family.”