Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

April 18, 2013

`In the blink of an eye'

Local teen injured at finish line

The Yepez family of Andover was just a few hundred feet away as the first bomb exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday.

They had no clue a second bomb was positioned just a couple yards behind them, waiting to go off.

When it did, 15-year-old David Yepez and a 12-year-old family friend from California found themselves in harm’s way.

“We were approximately 5 to 8 feet from the blast, and the way we were lined up, standing to root on the runners, David and his friend took the brunt of that explosion,” Louis Yepez, David’s father, said. “He was thrown to the ground.”

David Yepez, a freshman at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, suffered second-degree burns to his left arm and a small portion of the side of his face and ruptured his ear drums.

Yepez underwent surgery Tuesday at Floating Hospital for Children in Boston to remove a 1-by-3-inch piece of schrapnel from his leg.

His friend, whose mother was running the marathon, suffered similar lacerations in the explosion and is recovering as well.

Louis Yepez said he expects his son and the younger boy will fully recover from their injuries. He’s more worried about the other victims and those who lost family members. The Yepezes were standing within reach Monday of 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester — one of the three spectators killed in the explosions.

“There have been (victims) who have lost family members,” Luis Yepez said. “David’s injuries are non-life threatening. Over time, they’ll heal. We’re very grateful that’s the case, but our family’s concern is with those who have had it much more difficult than we’ve had.”

For years, the Yepez family has made attending the Boston Marathon a tradition. This year, they were accompanied by their friends from California.

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