Steamboat Springs Former Soroco High School student Josh Ford sustained permanent brain damage when he was hit by a car Oct. 31 on Colorado Highway 131 in Oak Creek.
Ford, 17, spent nearly two weeks in an intensive care unit in Denver in the wake of the accident, and he now is living on the Front Range for ongoing therapy, his mother, Rebecca Wood, said Wednesday. Although Wood said her son is doing well, his long-term prospects for recovery are unclear.
Ford's injury was to the right frontal lobe of his brain, and his symptoms include short-term memory loss, Wood said.
"Some days, he can't remember what day it is, even if he's already been told five times," Wood said.
However, Ford has been improving in time and has all but fully recovered from his physical injuries, which included a broken vertebra in his neck.
"Physically, he's okay. He looks better, he's filling back out - he lost a lot of weight in the hospital," Wood said. "I just worry about him."
Ford had a follow-up doctor's visit Tuesday, and his mother is optimistic that his brain can recover with time.
"The left lobe can pick up where the right lobe left off," Wood said, noting that it is unclear how long such improvement might take.
Ford was a Soroco High School sophomore living with his father in McCoy at the time of the accident. Colorado State Patrol reported that Ford was hit by an unknown vehicle at about 11:30 p.m. on Halloween on Colo. 131, just south of the entrance to Soroco High School in Oak Creek. Investigators at the scene determined Ford was lying in the northbound lane of the highway and was struck by the undercarriage of a vehicle.
In the wake of the accident, Wood disputed State Patrol's account of the accident, suggesting her son's injuries were more consistent with being struck by an object such as a side-view mirror and then being thrown to the ground.
Ford was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and he and a friend were thought to have been trying to head home from a party in the 400 block of Grant Avenue in Oak Creek. Ford does not remember the accident. His friend, who also was intoxicated, was unable to provide much information to investigators.
Wood was incredulous that charges never have been brought against anyone in connection with the accident. The driver of the vehicle has not been identified, and no one ever was charged with providing alcohol to Ford and other minors at the party.
"That ain't right," Wood said. "It's bad enough to buy alcohol for them, but it's even worse to let them leave the house."
Routt County Sheriff's Office Investigator Ken Klinger said his office still is investigating who provided the alcohol at the party.
After the accident, investigators said Ford may have been hit by a white GMC or Chevrolet pickup, but they were uncertain whether they were looking for the right type of car and whether the driver even knew he or she had hit Ford.
"I don't know, to be quite honest, if we'll ever find the car that hit him," Klinger said.
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