'Alex Just Got Hit By A Car': Waltham Police Officer Recounts Responding To Accident
Paul Manganelli tells the story of what it was like to respond to the accident call that turned out to involve his girlfriend's son, Alex Cabrera.
The following is what Waltham Police Officer Paul Manganelli told Waltham Patch about how he responded to an accident in which his girlfriend's son, Alex Cabrera, sustained serious injuries after being hit by a car. It has been edited for clarity; it is not a verbatim transcription.
“The call came in right at the beginning of roll call … for a child struck by a car on Lexington Street. They dispatched one officer out of the station to handle the call, because it was his area, so he was on his way. They were dispatching more police units. They started roll call."
"I’m thinking in my head the whole time, I seriously was thinking, it was going to be a Kennedy [Middle School] kid. It might be somebody I know. That’s what I always think if there is something like that with a kid. They called me and sent me to the helicopter landing zone [Editor's note: Cabrera was Medflighted out]."
“I was driving pretty fast there, and I am trying to call Alex on the phone, just to make sure he answered … because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t him. No answer. He always answers his phone. Second time no answer. Third time no answer.”
“Then I get a call from Jen [Thibeadeau, the mother of one of Alex's friends], who said 'Alex just got hit by a car, we have to call the mother right away.' I call her, I call Jenny [Cabrera, Alex's mother]. Now, I know it's him and I'm still driving to the helicopter landing zone.”
“So, I get there and there was another officer there ... and I told him, this is my stepson. And he goes, 'Paul don’t even come out, don’t even do traffic.' So, I ran over to the Medflight crew and I explained to them that It was my stepson. I don’t know the extent of anything. They calmed me down.”
“It was just not fun to get that call. It was not fun to drive to the hospital.”
“From thinking that it might be him, to having it be him, was terrible. It was a really bad feeling. I really couldn’t concentrate."
According to Mangenelli, Alex Cabrera is still improving. He is able to speak again but remains at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.