SEATTLE -- A teenager, struck and nearly killed by a light rail train in Seattle, is fighting to regain his life.
For the very first time, that boy's mother is speaking out. Pauline Hance says her 18-year-old son, Vincent, wasmoved from the hospital to rehab Thursday. His family and the first-responders who rescued him say it's a miracle he's alive.
"Vincent was just trying to make it home from school. He was crossing the street, waited for one train to pass, and didn't know there was a second train," says Pauline.
Vincent was struck in Columbia City along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Sound Transit says the conductor spotted Vincent, hoodie up and head down. The conductor hit the brakes and turned on every flashing light and alarm, but it was too late.
"His right ankle is broken. His left elbow was really damaged, so they put a plate in. He's got a lot of stitches on his right hip. The whole right side of his face is fractured and his cheekbone is pushed behind his eye," says Pauline.
Vincent's doctors are assessing whether he's suffered any permanent brain damage.
Sound Transit says train/pedestrian crash rates for Link Light Rail are below national average, but couldn't give us specific numbers Thursday night. They did say there's been no accidental fatalities since the link opened in the summer of 2009.
"He feels really broken and that's really hard to see. Your son, who's alive and vibrant and so happy and full of life, to just feel broken," says Pauline.
Despite the great deal of pain he's experienced, Vincent must undergo several more surgeries to reconstruct his face.
Sound Transit says there are no crossing arms because the trains go the same speed as the cars, which is 35 mph. Pauline hopes her son's story will force others to pay closer attention when stepping into a crosswalk.
If you would like to help Vincent's family with medical bills, click this link: www.gofundme.com/vincenthance
A fundraising breakfast will be held Saturday, December 12th from 9am-12pm at the Highland Park Improvement Club.