WALLINGFORD — The two Sheehan High School students seriously injured in Friday's crash on Highland Avenue are continuing to recover.
Ernest Childers, the father of 15-year-old Tre Childers, said Tuesday his son is slowly progressing and in stable condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Doctors told the father Tuesday was a “pivotal day” because it marks the end of a period of time when brain swelling is most likely to occur. Doctors said Childers’ brain “hasn’t enlarged at all,” which is “a very good sign.”
Childers is starting to regain his speech and movement in his left hand, both of which were affected by the accident, his father said.
“It's a slow progression. That's all we can hope for,” the father said. “...There is some reason for optimism and that’s what I’m holding onto.”
In the coming days, doctors plan to transition Childers off medication administered to prevent fluid accumulation in his brain.
“Next step would be weaning off those and seeing how it goes,” Childers’ father said.
Sixteen-year-old Jordan Davis, the other student injured, has been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home, Ernest Childers and police said.
The accident occurred at about 3 p.m. Friday on Highland Avenue north of Route 68. Davis and Childers were driving from a Sheehan football team meeting when Davis, the driver, lost control and struck a tree. Both students had to be extricated from the totaled 2009 Toyota Scion TC.
Several fundraising pages have been set up to help the families pay for medical expenses.
Ernest Childers said the support he has received from the community is “overwhelming.”
“We’re just overwhelmed. I don't know the words for it. I'm so thankful,” Ernest Childers said.
On Monday, Sheehan students wore school colors to school to show support for Davis and Childers.
“Wallingford has had a great outpouring,” Ernest Childers said. “...These kids are amazing.”
Police Chief William Wright said Tuesday an investigation into the crash will likely take several weeks to complete. Police are not officially releasing the names of the students because the investigation is ongoing.
Wright said crash investigations require “careful, deliberate, methodical recreation of the facts and circumstances of the accident.”
“Our traffic guys start a very methodical investigation into everything — roadway sign, road curves, architecture of the road, obstructions, physical evidence at the scene — not only the car but marked scrapes left on the roadway,” Wright said.
“A lot of the technical data that's needed to recreate the scene has been captured,” Wright said, and now police will transfer the data and “come to some sense of what actually occurred there.”
Lt. Cheryl Bradley said Monday police are investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash.
Under the state’s graduated license law, new drivers are allowed only one passenger with other restrictions. Wright said during the first six month period after a 16- or 17-year-old obtains a driver’s license, state law only allows the driver to have one of the following passengers: a licensed driving instructor, a parent or legal guardian with a valid driver’s license, or a “person providing instruction who is at least 20 years old and has held a license for at least 4 years with no suspensions during the last 4 years.”
During the second six month period after obtaining a license, the 16- or 17-year-old driver is allowed to drive with any of the above or an immediate family member, such as a brother or sister.
GoFundMe.com pages have been set up to assist the Childers family and the Davis family.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Officer Christian Evans or Lt. Anthony DeMaio at 203-294-2815.