An anonymous man, known as “Garage 66,” who was severely injured in a car crash and couldn’t talk for 16 years, has finally been identified. He was nicknamed after the auto shop whose van he was riding when the June, 1999, accident occurred along the border between California and Mexico.
The name of the anonymous man has not yet been released to the public. Garage 66 suffered severe brain damage during the accident and still does not reportedly react to his environment or speak. Few details about his life ever materialized after the gruesome accident, according to a San Diego Tribune report.
— Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) January 31, 2016
Whether or not Garage 66 was an illegal immigrant or was in the United States legally at the time of the accident has also not been shared with the public. The Daily Mail reports that the medical bills of the man who remained anonymous for 16 years amount to $700 per day. His hospital tab is currently being covered by Medi-Cal, a taxpayer-funded state agency which serves the poor and the disabled.
The identification of the auto accident victim is reportedly the result of a group effort between immigration officials, medics from the scene, the San Diego Mexican Consulate, politicians, and education professionals. The family of Garage 66 has asked, through the Mexican Consulate, that the name of the patient not be revealed and for their privacy to be respected. At this time, the family is refusing to discuss the matter with the media, and the California hospital cannot reveal the name or discuss the case in detail without their permission.
— jackie stuart (@auldcove) February 1, 2016
SharpHealthcare staffers are now reportedly very happy to be able to call Garage 66 by name. Facility spokesman Tom Hanscom said that caregivers can now offer the patient the dignity which comes from being called by his true name and knowing facts about his life before the accident. Hanscom also stated that the family who wondered for 16 years what had happened to their loved ones now finally has been granted some peace.
Two years ago, the hospital started networking with the local media to share the story about Garage 66 in the hope that the news coverage who garner leads to his identity. Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, a rights group for immigrants, heard about Garage 66 last year and became involved with the search for his identity.
Morones comment could appear to indicate that the anonymous man was an illegal immigrant who crossed the Mexican border into the United States. According to the Border Angels founder, “thousands” of individuals go missing at the border each year and never make contact with relatives in America.
“There are a lot of Garage 66s out there. Maybe it’s not a 16-year old case, maybe it’s a 6-day old case. But there’s a mom who still wants to know, ‘did my son make it?’ This [identification of Garage 66] is going to give a lot of people hope,” Morones added.
Multiple times over the course of the past 16 years, many families have stepped forward, thinking that Garage 66 may have been their missing relative. The Mexican citizens who have identified the patient also submitted to both DNA and biometric testing to prove the claim.
During the accident, the anonymous man, believed to be in his 30s, was thrown from the vehicle.
What do you think about the anonymous man known as Garage 66 being identified after 16 years and claims about a missing illegal immigrants problem along the Mexican border?
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