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RHHS alum badly injured in traffic accident
Cesar Perez
Cesar Perez - photo by Photo provided.

The community is rallying around Cesar Perez, a 2011 Richmond Hill graduate who was badly injured in a traffic accident on I-16 east of Dublin last Friday.

According to the Treutlen County Sheriff’s Office, Perez, 24, was eastbound on I-16 when his vehicle was hit head-on by another vehicle driving westbound in the eastbound lanes. Perez’s vehicle was then pushed into the westbound lanes where it was hit by a tractor trailer.

The accident occurred shortly after 7 p.m. Jan. 12. All lanes of I-16 were blocked for several hours.

Perez’s sisters, Carolina and Alicia, and his girlfriend, Chelsea O’hara Rodriguez, started a GoFundMe account to help with his medical bills that has raised more than $15,100 toward a goal of $250,000 from 276 people over the past three days. It can be found at

According to their account, Perez was headed to Statesboro to visit Rodriguez when the accident occurred. He had called her at 6:15 p.m. to tell her he would be there in an hour.

When he didn’t arrive and did not answer his phone, Rodriguez and the Perez family began to worry. Carolina said she began calling hospitals in Statesboro, Metter and Swainsboro, asking about accident victims on I-16 and telling herself she was “overreacting.”

“My gut feeling told me to keep dialing, something was awfully wrong,” Carolina recounts on the website.

She finally located her brother when she called the hospital in Dublin and was told Cesar was being transported by helicopter to a trauma center in Macon. Law enforcement told the family that it took more than 40 minutes to extract Cesar from his vehicle and that he had to be revived twice during that time.

Perez has already undergone surgery to stabilize and realign a broken leg and has several more procedures ahead of him to reconstruct his facial bones and teeth.

The family reports that Cesar regained consciousness Wednesday and although he cannot talk due to his injuries, he was responding to questions in both Spanish and English and able to smile and squeeze with his left hand.

Perez was a standout athlete and student at RHHS, serving as senior class president and playing on the soccer team.

“He and his sisters were wonderful student-athletes, well loved by students and teachers,” recalled Penny Williams, a math teacher at the school. “They are all three talented musicians and singers.”

She said Perez participated in the Beta Club, Math Team, Science Olympiad and Environmental Club, as well as playing in the Armstrong State and Georgia Southern orchestras while still a high school student.

Perez graduated from Georgia Southern in 2014 with a degree in multimedia communications as a 1906 Scholar. He and his sisters form the Perez String Trio, playing at weddings, special events and ceremonies throughout Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. He also works as a freelance graphic designer.

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