A Christmas Eve crash in Long Beach, California, involving an alleged drunk driver, leaves a 13-year-old boy – who is only being identified as Elijah – paralyzed, crushing his dreams of becoming a football player for USC.
Just before 10 p.m. on December 24, 2016, Elijah was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his much older cousin, whose name has not been released to the public, when he noticed something wasn’t right when the driver began speeding and running red lights, according to the ABC 7.
The driver of the vehicle was allegedly driving drunk, but when Elijah realized his cousin’s condition, it was too late to exit the vehicle.
Kamisha Johnson, who is Elijah’s mother, said, “My son said he didn’t know he [driver] was under the influence or anything until they started running red lights and he was going kind of fast.”
When they reached Susana Road just north on Maria Street in Rancho Dominguez, Elijah’s cousin reportedly lost control of the vehicle and hit a pole, prompting the vehicle to flip several times.
Elijah became trapped inside the vehicle and when the emergency medical services arrived at the crash scene, they had to use the Jaws of Life to remove the teen.
It was not immediately made clear if the driver was injured after the crash, but relatives say Rancho Dominguez officers arrested the man at the scene.
Elijah was transported to a local hospital, where his mother learned that he was paralyzed from the shoulders down and doctors feared that he may never walk again.
She said, “The doctors are telling you stuff like he’s not going to be able to walk again and he is not going to be able to have function in his hands, and my son is a football player so this really hurt.”
“To see my son have to struggle when all of this could have been prevented.”
“A few drinks caused my son to be paralyzed,” said Johnson, but she stated that she is glad her son is alive.
Sally Amos, who is believed to be the victim’s aunt, recently created a Go Fund Me page to help the family raise $10,000 in donations for medical expenses.
According to the site, the teen’s mom “just started a new job and has had to take a leave of absence and doesn’t know when she will return or how she will be able to even transport him and care for his many needs once he is stable enough to go home.”
“They need all the support, prayer, and love they can get.”
Thus far, the family has garnered $4,310 in donations.
Since the Christmas Eve car crash, Elijah has undergone a number of surgeries and will be having spinal surgery this Thursday. Relatives say he may need years of physical therapy.
As a result of the horrific crash, Elijah was unable to open his presents on Christmas day.
While in a hospital bed at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Elijah – who is eager to return home – warned others not drink and drive. He wants his injuries to be a warning to those who are thinking about getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
In a video, which was posted on Facebook, the teens’ mother also warned the public, saying “I know it’s a New Year and people are out having fun – drinking. But please remember that there are other people out there that could become a victim from the choices that you make.”
“The hardest thing is being a mother and receiving a call about your child.”
Johnson went on to thank those who have donated, adding that all the proceeds will go to her son.
[Featured Image by Stock Finland/iStock]