SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A San Bernardino man did all he could to avoid a suspected drunk driver along Interstate 15 on Saturday night in Fallbrook, but it wasn't enough.
Joel Hernandez was driving his family back to San Bernardino after a stay in Mexico when his vehicle was rear-ended at a high rate of speed. Now his three-year-old son is in intensive care.
"Luckily he doesn't have inner bleeding in the brain, it's just swollen. He has a big concussion on this eye. He took the whole impact there, and broke an elbow," Hernandez said.
Three-year-old Elco Hernandez is in the ICU at Rady Children's Hospital after being thrown from his family's SUV and landing near a guardrail after the horrible crash. Elco's sister was also thrown from the vehicle, and miraculously survived with only bumps and bruises.
"It could've been worse. She's doing good," Hernandez said.
Hernandez says his family of four was heading home to San Bernardino from a vacation in Mexico Saturday night at around 11 p.m. They were on the I-15 in Fallbrook, just past the 76, when he noticed a car barreling toward them in his rear view mirror.
"I saw him coming. He was coming fast. So I was like, whoa this guy's coming fast so I thought, I'm going to move," he said.
Hernandez tried unsuccessfully to get out of the way of the suspected drunk driver.
"So when I moved, he moved the same way. I just felt the hit and grabbed the steering wheel, and we started rolling," Hernandez said.
He says his vehicle rolled multiple times, finally stopping on a guardrail. Hernandez turned around to check on his two kids, but they were gone.
"First thing I did, I turned back and they were not there. It was the worst moment in my life, you know? Not knowing where were they?" Hernandez said.
Hernandez and his wife ran up and down the highway screaming for their children, and finally spotted their 2-year-old daughter Chantal near a guardrail.
"And I found her sitting down crying," he said.
A few moments later they found their son.
"As soon as I seen him, I saw him move his legs so I knew that he was not dead yet," Hernandez said.
The family is hoping their sweet boy is one day able to sing again. Hernandez is hoping the suspected drunk driver who hit them realizes what he has done to this family.
"I hope he gets what he deserves. You can kill people when you drink and drive," he said.
To help with the family's medical bill that insurance won't cover, relatives have set up a recovery fund for 3-year-old Elco Hernandez. If you'd like to donate, CLICK HERE>>.