GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — A 17-year-old high school student is fighting for his life after he and his good friend collided at the driveway of his house in Gresham just after midnight Tuesday.
Robert Asa said he was at the grocery store when he got a call from his daughter telling him there had been an accident.
His son, Bobby Asa, was coming from a friend’s house, “which is really just right down the street,” Robert said. With his good friend following him, Bobby backed into his driveway in the 29000 block of SE Powell Valley Road. His friend “didn’t realize that he put it in reverse, and just the angle didn’t see his headlights. It’s a dark street to begin with. That’s how the accident occurred.”
Robert said he doesn’t know how fast the friend’s car was going or if Bobby was wearing his seat belt. The impact of the crash on the right side of the car threw Bobby back “and I think his head hit the rear window.”
The car ended up in a neighbor’s yard.
“He’s got some brain damage. He has a fractured skull, a little bit of the bone is protruding into his brain,” Robert told KOIN 6 News just before his son went into surgery. “His spinal cord is damaged. His C-6 has literally been pushed back.”
Doctors told the family the “percentage is high” Bobby will be paralyzed.
“We’re just hoping he has enough there still that he can heal,” Robert said.
Bobby’s surgery on Tuesday “was successful from a physical standpoint,” his aunt said in a Facebook post. “He did well under anesthesia and the surgeon was pleased with the result of the repairs. However, Bobby has sustained truly devastating injuries, both to his brain stem and to his spinal cord.”
His surgeon reportedly said he has at least a year-long recovery ahead of him, and that he will have to wake up on his own as he heals from his injuries.
Bobby Asa is his only son, Robert said. “He literally gives me everything. He motivates me to do everything I can for him and us and my family.”
The teen has an aura that draws people to him, Robert said. “He’s got so much love and I love it. He’s unique.”
He’s an incoming junior at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham and is on the track team. Robert said the outpouring of support from the school community has been overwhelming.
“I love it. This is what we need as a family to get through this.”
He also understands how tough this is on Bobby’s friend, who was treated and released at the scene of the crash.
“It’s going to be a tough thing for him, but we want him to know we support him. It’s an accident,” Robert told KOIN 6 News. “He’s got so much more to give and I’m just hoping he bounces back from this, learns from it and moves on and be happy again.”
Bobby’s family say he is a fighter and they’re hoping for the best. Robert has a message for other teen drivers.
“Don’t ever take (the responsibility of driving) for granted. Be safe. It could be your life. That’s where we’re at with mine, my son’s.”
There is a GoFundMe account set up for Bobby’s recovery.