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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

17-year-old in bike crash making progress

A 17-year-old who was hit by a car while riding his bicycle remains in critical condition as his family recounts the night of the accident.

Posted on Oct. 18, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — The 17-year-old who was hit by a car while he was riding his bicycle Friday evening remains in critical condition, but his family says he is making progress.

Darrien Lewis and his brother, Cameron Wilson, both of South Bend, were riding their bicycles on their way to see their brother, who lives in Elkhart.

They were riding on the right side of the lane going east on C.R. 16 when a car driven by Aaron Hardesty, 19, going the same direction collided with Lewis.

Tia Guffey, 20, of Elkhart, was driving west on C.R. 16 when she looked up in time to see Lewis flipping a few times in the air before hitting the ground.

“I turned my car around as fast as I could, I got out, handed my phone to his brother and made sure everybody was OK.”

Guffey tried to find a pulse while she talked to Lewis. At some point she asked him to squeeze her hand, and he did.

“My guess was he was in shock, so I kept talking to him and he started coughing,” she said. “I know he was conscious. He couldn’t open his eyes but I could see tears coming down his cheeks.”

Lewis was taken to Elkhart General Hospital and later taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with injuries to his head, some broken ribs and injuries to his right foot.

Hardesty complained of pain to his neck, according to a report from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.

Wilson said he wasn’t able to go with his brother, so he did not see him again until he reached Memorial Hospital. Guffey tried to call Umicha Baker, Lewis’s mother, but was unable to reach her that night. Baker returned Guffey’s call the next morning to thank her for her help.

“I’m just happy that I was there and his family is holding it together,” she said. “I’m happy I can be there for them.”

Capt. Jim Bradberry, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Department, said the accident is still under investigation. No enforcement has been taken.

Guffey said she knows Hardesty because they went to school together.

“I could tell he was nervous and I could tell he felt bad,” she said. “I know he would never hurt somebody.”

Though he remains in critical condition, Lewis can now look around and respond to commands, said Guffey, who has been in constant communication with Lewis’s family.

Guffey has also been visiting Lewis the last three days.

Janice Lewis, Darrien Lewis’s grandmother, said the amount of support from friends and others in the community have kept her and her family strong these past few days.

“My husband is a wreck. We haven’t eaten anything. I’m still hurting,” she said. “The community has done a great job, with hundreds of good comments and wishes from everyone. I know he’s going to pull out of this.”

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