Accident at Affiliated Foods leaves teen paralyzed and family needing help

AMARILLO, TX -  An accident at Affiliated Foods leaves a teenager paralyzed and in the intensive care unit.

An uninsured mother of 10 still sleeps next to her son after an accident Wednesday put 18-year-old Joel Valenciana in the ICU at Northwest Texas Hospital.

"Right now he still doesn't have any feeling from the waist down," Joel's mother, Carmelita Escalante said.

She is at a loss for words when it comes to describing the pain her family is now going through.

"He's 18 and has a future that we have no hold on now," she said.

The accident happened on the morning of April 18 inside Affiliated Foods off Farmers Ave.

It was Valenciana's third day of training when a pallet said to have been stacked with thousands of pounds of dog food fell on top of him.

"It broke his back, crushed his spine, took a piece of his scalp off and tore two of his fingers off," Escalante said.

We contacted Affiliated Foods to find out exactly what happened.

Nobody returned our telephone call and when we spoke to somebody in Human Resources, a woman advised us nobody was available for comment.

We left the company our email address asking for a statement regarding the incident and have yet to hear anything back.

Meanwhile, the Valenciana family is left wondering how something so tragic could have happened to an employee in training.

"When I started working there, Joel always told me that when he turned 18, he wanted to work there too," his brother, Pedro said. "I talked with my boss and got him the job and he was just so happy to be there with me and my hope for him was to be where I was at."

While those dreams have come to a halt, the family is still holding onto hope.

Valenciana is in desperate need of blood.

A blood drive will be held Wednesday, April 25 from 10a.m. until 3 p.m. at 1401 Farmers Ave.

A trust fund is now up and running at Amarillo National Bank.

Donations can be made at any branch location beginning Saturday, April 21.