The year was 1990. Gloria Estefan, who was 32 years old at the time, was riding on her tour bus along with family members and staff. They were traveling through Pennsylvania on a snowy day headed to a show in Syracuse, NY, during her Get On Your Feet Tour.
But this tour, which had just begun, would be cut short by the tragic accident that followed. As Estefan’s bus was traveling along Interstate 380, not far from the Poconos Mountains, they came across a jackknifed tractor-trailer which was blocking traffic. The bus halted behind an 18-wheeler which was also waiting for the road to clear.
Suddenly, another tractor-trailer that was behind them skidded out of control and slammed into Estefan’s bus. The impact forced her tour bus into the 18-wheeler ahead of them. Estefan, her husband Emilio, and her 9-year-old son, Nayib, were all injured.
Emilio and Nayib suffered broken bones and bruises, were treated, and released from the hospital. However, the road to recovery was much longer for Estefan. She was thrown from a bunk where she was resting and suffered two broken vertebrae.
Luckily, Estefan would recover and eventually be able to walk again. Shortly after the injury, she underwent surgery to repair the vertebrae and had to wear a cast for the next 6 months. The injury did not paralyze Estefan, but it did put a halt to her tour. Estefan, who required two metal rods in her spine, had to cancel the rest of Get On Your Feet to spend the year recovering.
Estefan Files a Lawsuit
Although Estefan and her family made it through this tragedy, she still sought justice. The month after her accident, she filed a suit in federal court seeking damages. The lawsuit named Geraldo Samuels, the driver of the truck, his employer, Ventura Transport Inc., Flexi-Van Leasing Inc, which owned the truck, and Maersk Inc. plus three of its affiliated companies in the suit. Maersk was included because it was the shipper of the pitted dates that Samuels was transporting.
In August of the next year, Estefan accepted a partial settlement for $8.5 million from 7 of the 10 defendants. And she found the strength to keep going. In 1991, she released a new single, Coming Out of the Dark. The song was inspired by a phrase that her husband, Emilio, scribbled on a piece of paper as she was transported by helicopter to the hospital for back surgery following the accident.
During an interview with Billboard, she explained that Emilio had been in one of the helicopters traveling between hospitals and it was very dark and gray. “He was traumatized,” she said. “He got this ray of light hit him in the face, and he got the idea for Coming Out of the Dark.”
The song became a number one hit on the Billboard charts in the United States, and the Spanish version, “Desde la Oscuridad” reached the top five on the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Gloria Estefan’s Texas Connection
Estefan went on to perform and tour again. In fact, her 2004 Live & Re-Wrapped Tour kicked off in Hidalgo, TX. What many don’t realize about Gloria Estefan is that she has roots right here in South Texas.
In a 2013 article for San Antonio Magazine shortly before her performance in the Festival People En Español that year, she shared her memories of living in San Antonio as a child. “Our home at (Lackland) Air Force Base was the first time in my lifetime that I knew what stability was.” She said in the interview.
She shared that she’s been back to South Texas many times for concerts and appearances and that she first learned to speak English while attending Winston Elementary School.
You Don’t Have to Be Rich or Famous to Seek Justice
Yes, Gloria Estefan has come a long way since living in the barracks in San Antonio as a child. But you don’t have to be a celebrity like her to fight for justice. If you have been injured in an accident involving a company truck or 18-wheeler, you can still fight for the money you deserve – even if you can’t afford a lawyer.
Jason DeSouza works with families in South Texas for free. He only takes a fee if he wins your case. Don’t settle for less than the full and fair compensation for your injury. Call Jason DeSouza for your consultation.
DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.
If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222.