NEW YORK (CBS 2) — After suffering horrific injuries in a hit-and-run accident, an 18-year-old honors student is making a remarkable recovery.
RaeVaughn Gardner-Williams was crossing Burnside Avenue near Morris Avenue on Aug. 7 when he was hit by a vehicle police describe as a white Honda or Toyota.
“How do you hit a human being, and leave them for dead? I wouldn’t do it to a dog,” his mother, Greer Gardner, told CBS 2’s Mark Morgan.
Doctors at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx removed part of Gardner-Williams’ skull to save his life.
“It’s a miracle, his prognosis was bleak when he came in. No one expected him to make it through the night, and he’s still here,” Gardner said.
“When we first came in, the doctor that I spoke to said flat out that he may not survive. I didn’t tell her that but that’s what I was told, and I was scared to death,” aunt Robin Gardner-Jones recounted.
Gardner-Williams was placed in a medically-induced coma and his mother stayed by his side. Other friends and relatives flocked to the hospital to visit, and he unexpectedly awakened from the coma last Saturday.
“And when he woke up on Saturday, we were just elated. We didn’t expect it,” Gardner-Jones said.
“I’m ready to go home,” he said.
RaeVaughn received an academic scholarship to Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, but due to the incident, his education will have to wait. He was very sedated when Morgan visited him Thursday, but having to delay his collegiate career until January visibly annoyed him.
“I’m supposed to be at college,” he told Morgan. “I want to go right now.”
“This wasn’t RaeVaughn’s destiny. He’s got a lot to do. He’s a wonderful kid. He’s got a great future ahead of him and God said it wasn’t his time,” his mother said.
“The basic thing is, just never give up on someone this age, that amazing things can happen,” said Dr. Steve DiRusso, chairman of the Department of Surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Thursday marked several milestones, including RaeVaughn’s first real meal since entering the hospital. He also took an amazing 250 steps in rehab as his family counted blessings.
Doctors told the family they see no signs of permanent damage. Police still have no suspect in the case.
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