Serena Johnson described as "horrendous" an accident last night that left her 16-year-old son, Jacob, in MetroHealth Medical Center today.
Jacob was taken to the hospital after he was hit by a car while walking with a friend along Darrow Road, just west of Thompson Road, according to the Sandusky Post of the State Highway Patrol. The accident happened a little after 9:30 p.m.
The driver who struck him, Gary Fitzpatrick, 21, of Lorain, has been charged with aggravated vehicular assault, drunken driving, driving under suspension, hit-skip and failure to control. Fitzpatrick had been involved in an earlier accident in Lorain and also attempted to leave the scene after he hit Jacob.
Serena Johnson said this afternoon that Jacob had just come out of surgery.
"He's still really out of it," she said. "We won't know the extent of his injuries until he's awake and can tell us what hurts."
She said he has a broken femur, has stitches in his ear and is suffering from a brain bleed but has been moved from intensive care to the regular pediatric floor and has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.
"It looks like he's going to make it," she said.
Johnson said Jacob, a Vermilion High student she describes as "very popular" with "lots of friends," was walking with a male friend when he was hit by Fitzpatrick's car. Johnson added that when she arrived at the scene people told her the car had been going 70 mph to 80 mph.
Jacob "flew about 20 feet through the air into some trees" after he was hit, she said, adding "it was so bad, they couldn't find him at first."
According to the Highway Patrol, Fitzpatrick was driving a 1994 Ford Aerostar minivan when he first was involved in an accident in Lorain. He reportedly hit a building in the 2600 block of West Erie Avenue and fled the scene.
Fitzpatrick then was traveling west on Darrow Road and failed to negotiate a curve near Thompson Road. He drove off the right side of the roadway, striking Jacob.
Fitzpatrick’s vehicle continued westbound, striking a traffic sign post and a utility pole before coming to rest near the roadway, according to the patrol. Fitzpatrick managed to restart his vehicle and drive short distance from the scene of the crash.
At that point, the vehicle ceased running, and Fitzpatrick began to physically push the vehicle westbound in the roadway. Vermilion Township Fire Chief Frank R. Triana located Mr. Fitzpatrick pushing the vehicle and notified the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Fitzpatrick was detained without incident, according to the patrol, and his vehicle was towed from the scene.
According to Serena Johnson, words can't describe what she has been through in the last day.
"I just don't understand how he was still driving," she said of Fitzpatrick.