Toddler’s lucky escape

2013-08-06 00:00

WHEN two-year-old Liam was found unconscious and bleeding near the wheel of the car that crashed into his front yard, his mother thought he was dead.

Miraculously, the toddler survived the accident that was caused by an alleged drunk driver who ploughed through their garden wall, injuring him in the garden where he was playing on Saturday afternoon. He is being treated for a fractured skull, blood clot on the brain and cuts and bruises. Although in a lot of pain, Liam still manages to smile when he is awake.

His parents have not left his side. Rekha Richardson, Liam’s mother, said: “We were all outside when [the accident happened]. Even the neighbours were out talking to us. When I heard the crash I knew Liam was on that side. I started screaming, ‘Where’s my baby?’.”

Liam’s cousin Sandika Arjoon (19) was with him at the time of the accident. “I was talking to him five seconds before the accident happened. He was eating chips. I saw it all happen,” he said. “Only after did I hear all the screaming. I was in shock. I couldn’t move. We found the plate he was eating chips from under the car. It was shattered. That could have been him.”

The toddler is surrounded by love. In addition to his parents staying by his side, his family come to visit him as often as they can.

“Everyone in Raisethorpe knows Liam. He is such a friendly baby. When the accident happened so many people came to find out if he was okay. Even strangers who saw the car in the yard came and expressed their concern,” Richardson told The Witness.

The family of the baby who shares Liam’s ward asked their pastor to come and pray for Liam’s recovery. The pastor and family members prayed fervently over Liam. His father, Jonathan Richardson, and Arjoon were comforted by the kind gesture displayed by a family who thought of Liam in addition to their own sick baby.

Liam’s doctors say that he is doing very well.

Dr O.F. Jooma, Liam’s paediatrician, said: “He has made quite good progress [since the weekend]. We have transferred him from ICU to a general ward, and he is awake, alert and eating.” Dr Praneel Ramchandra is the neurosurgeon who operated on Liam when he was admitted.

“When he came in, he was not fully conscious. He had a significant head injury that was a cause of concern. He needed emergency surgery. Now he is doing well.

“He is a very strong boy,” Ramchandra told The Witness.

Jonathan expressed his relief that Liam’s condition is improving.

“The doctors are still concerned about the blood clot on his brain. It is too soon to tell whether he suffered brain damage or not. They want to keep him for a couple of days. We hope he comes home soon.”

Two arrests have been made in connection with the accident, as neither of the arrested men will admit to who was driving the car. According to Rekha, eye witnesses said the vehicle was going very fast before it crashed through the precast boundary wall of the Richardsons’ house.

“SAPS Mountain Rise detective services are investigating a case of reckless and negligent driving and driving under the influence of liquor. The two male occupants, aged 41 and 52 … were arrested at the scene and later released on a warning to make their first appearance in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday, August 12. Police investigations continue,” said Captain Thulani Zwane.

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