HARLINGEN — Debora Cruz has fought for her life twice and has decided to use those experiences to serve the community as much as possible.

The 53-year-old Harlingen resident is now an advocate for truck safety, after suffering a severe accident in 2008 and then another one in 2017.

Cruz recently took part in the Sorrow to Strength Convention in Washington, D.C., after being invited by the Truck Safety Coalition to become a member and a partner.

“I used to be a corrections officer and I was coming home from work when an 18-wheeler drags me and flips my car over,” Cruz said.

“My head hit the rubber part of the seatbelt. I have serious nerve damage from the injuries, but I’m OK. I died and came back to life, basically.”

After her accident was reported in the Valley Morning Star, Cruz was approached by the Truck Safety Coalition, where she met other survivors and now dedicates herself to advocating on prevention of accidents.

The convention from July 12 to 15 included trainings and panel discussions.

Cruz also had the opportunity to speak to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and express her concerns about the lack of drug testing of truck drivers.

Cruz believes the driver who struck her was under the influence due to his records.

“Sometimes I get sad and think, why did this happen to me? And then I look at the boy in a wheelchair with just his father left or other kids, and I think that’s why I had another chance to talk about it and inform,” she said.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is a partnership between The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT).

The Truck Safety Coalition is dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related accidents.

For more information visit http://trucksafety.org or on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/trucksafetycoalition/