Boy in Serious ATV Crash Will Be Home by Christmas

Accident victim set to go home after four months in hospital

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 14-year-old boy is about to get the only Christmas present he wants -- going home after four months in the hospital.

    Augustus Fleming remembers almost nothing about the afternoon of Aug. 25 when the all-terrain vehicle he was riding collided with a tractor-trailer.

    Teen Going Home Four Months After "Nightmare" ATV Crash

    [DFW] Teen Going Home Four Months After "Nightmare" ATV Crash
    The 14-year-old hurt in an ATV crash with an 18-wheeler has been in hospital for four months.

    "When it happened, (it) was a nightmare," he said in his hospital room at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. "The 18-wheeler came up behind me, so I really didn't see it."

    He was riding the ATV near his family's farm in the small town of Troy, between Waco and Temple, when he was struck by a large truck hauling gravel.

    He was thrown 50 feet and sustained a severe head injury. He was airlifted to Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, where doctors prepared his family for the worst.

    "At that point, he was still pretty unconscious," said his mother Lynn Fleming. "In and out, you know. And they kind of prepared us for maybe he wouldn't wake up and that would be it, you know. He'd be in a permanent vegetative state."

    The following month, in need of surgery to reduce swelling in his brain, he was transferred to Cook Children's Medical Center.

    "He wasn't talking. He would just cry," remembered nurse Deann Dangelmayr. "He started out here not talking to us. He was getting fed through the G-button in his stomach. He had a trach."

    Augustus said he tried to keep a positive attitude.

    "I'd just say, 'It's all right. It'll get better, eventually,'" he said.

    He made slow progress.

    Until just a few weeks ago, he was in a wheelchair.

    But now -- with a little help -- he's walking again.

    "I've come a long ways," Augustus said.

    His mother said he's had to learn everything all over again -- from how to eat to how to brush his teeth.

    "He's getting stronger every time he walks," his mother said.

    He put photos on the wall to remind him of happier times.

    And he has made new memories at Cook Children's, including a visit from the Dallas Cowboys.

    Now, after four months in the hospital, Augustus is finally ready to go home, just in time for Christmas.

    But he'll have to wait one more week. He's set to leave Dec. 22. He has the date he has marked on his calendar pinned on his hospital room wall.

    "I'll be like, 'Bye-bye hospital," he said. "I feel good because I'm going home before Christmas."

    Over the past four months, Augustus and his mother say they've learned a lot about life and about faith.

    "Just don't worry," Augustus said. "Whatever you've been through, it'll get better."

    His mother agreed.

    "Never give up, never lose faith," she said. "Always just do the best you know and persevere."

    She said she will have Christmas presents waiting for him next week when he returns, but the best gift of all will be him being home.