BATTLE GROUND, Wash. -- A 16-year-old Battle Ground boy was hit by a car Monday morning as he waited for the school bus, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Carey remained in critical condition Tuesday, with two broken legs.
What makes the crash so unusual is how long the Battle Ground High School sophomore waited for help. Apparently nobody knew he had been hit until 90 minutes after the crash.
“And I’ve just been beating myself up about it because I was just feet away from him and didn’t know he was there,” his friend Shawn Smith told KGW.
Smith got to the bus stop late on Monday and saw the damaged car on the side of the road, but had no idea his friend was involved.
The sheriff’s office said the driver never reported hitting anyone. They said she went off Northeast 82nd avenue and drove into a ditch on the side of the road . Investigators didn’t look for a victim because deputies didn’t know there was a victim.
Carey was found by a tow truck driver, 150 feet away from where the boy was hit.
“I was just getting ready to walk back on the road and I heard a faint, 'Help.' and I just turned around and I said, 'Is there anybody there?' And he said it again,” said Charlie Barrett of Clark County Towing.
Berrett was there to take the damaged car away and decided to make one last visual sweep of the crash site when he heard the boy. He said Carey was hidden under several feet of brush. By the time Barrett found the boy and called 911, it had been an hour-and-a-half since the crash.
Carey's parents credited Barrett with saving the boy's life.
"I want to thank him profusely," said Carey's mom, Janette Chumley. "He saved my son's life and there is no amount of thanks in the world that could cover what he did for us."
"I'm very grateful," added Carey's dad, Jim. "He's what saved him. He's who found him and I appreciate him very much."
Chumley said the boy broke both femurs and underwent a six-and-a-half hour operation Monday. He’s expected to need more surgeries in the coming days, but could be released from the hospital within three weeks.
The driver of the car suffered a broken arm. Deputies said she would likely be charged, but they did not release further details.
KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.