Ten years ago this week, the lives of a Torrington family changed forever.
Their father was the man steering the wheel of a massive charter bus that was caught in the destructive, deadly crash at the base of Avon Mountain.
That warm morning of July 29, 2005, Frank Juan’s bus route sent him to the foot of the mountain, at the height of the morning rush.
“I got a phone call saying Dad was in a bad accident and I needed to come home. I found out a dump truck lost control and hit the bus and Daddy was in ICU for a month and two weeks,” said Juan’s daughter Mona Clark.
The crash killed four people, including the dump truck driver who slammed into one car, sparking a chain of fiery crashes involving more than one dozen others, and Juan’s bus, which had about one dozen people on board.
“They said my father saved a lot of lives because he jackknifed his bus across the highway. That was my father, to hurt himself so he could save someone else,” said Juan’s son Frank T. Juan.
Juan woke up on Sept. 7, 2005 with a broken neck, collapsed lung and nerve damage to the left side.
Less than three years later, after suffering through a number of medical issues including cancer, he died.
Clark said she is thankful for the memories, especially when her dad, as sick as he was, walked her down the aisle on her wedding day.
“When I go to bed, I saw goodnight to him and say I love you and wish that I could say it one more time. It’s hard, especially being the only girl,” Clark said.
Juan never got to meet his two youngest grandchildren, Angel and Christopher.
Mike Juan, 15, said he feels blessed by the time he had with his grandfather, spending the most time with Juan on the bus, driving and being with family.
“He was my best friend. I could tell him anything,” Mike Juan said.
“He was caring, loving. Would do anything for his wife and kids,” Clark added.
Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.