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updated: 7/8/2014 12:36 PM

Elgin boy caught in sinkhole is home, in pain; fund set up

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  • Benjamin Hernandez, 15, of Elgin, suffered serious injuries after the car he was riding in last week plunged into a sinkhole on a rural Kane County road.

      Benjamin Hernandez, 15, of Elgin, suffered serious injuries after the car he was riding in last week plunged into a sinkhole on a rural Kane County road.
    courtesy of San Juanita Pineda

  • San Juanita Pineda says her son, Benjamin Hernandez, is back at home in Elgin but still suffering a lot of pain.

       San Juanita Pineda says her son, Benjamin Hernandez, is back at home in Elgin but still suffering a lot of pain.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Video: At the scene of sinkhole

  • Video: Sinkhole Survivors

 
 

Benjamin Hernandez, the teen seriously injured in a sinkhole accident on a rural Kane County road, is recovering at his home in Elgin, and a fund has been set up to help him.

The 15-year-old suffered a broken jaw and a broken rib, and lost some teeth in the early hours of July 1 after a car driven by his mother plunged into a gaping sinkhole that opened after rain storms on the dark rural road south of the village of Burlington.

Initially, he also was diagnosed with a spinal fracture, but doctors later said he didn't have one, said his mother, San Juanita Pineda.

The accident happened while Pineda was delivering newspapers with Benjamin in the back seat. She did not see the sinkhole, which was 10 feet in diameter. A short time later, a pickup truck drove over the car in which the two were pinned.

The teen spent two days in the pediatric intensive care unit of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood; he was transferred to the main pediatric floor Thursday and discharged Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Benjamin went to the emergency room at Advocate Sherman Hospital on Saturday night, where he was prescribed stronger painkillers, Pineda said. "He is complaining a lot that his back hurts, his side hurts, his eye hurts," she said.

Doctors didn't say how long recovery will take, Pineda said.

"All they said is that it's going to take time," said Pineda, who's caring for Benjamin at home helped by his 19-year-old brother.

The Daily Herald helped set up a fund so people can contribute money to Benjamin's care. He has health insurance through public assistance but no dental insurance, his mother said.

"I am very, very grateful," she said. "I'm grateful for the donations they're giving."

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