Local News

Durham Accident Follow

Posted July 25, 2003

— One minute.. Matthew West was riding in the back of a jeep.. having fun with his friends.. The next.. the 17 year old was on the ground, critically injured.. It happened Tuesday when a Durham policeman slammed his patrol car into the jeep. Today.. West's parents spoke out for the first time.

Adrian and Robin West couldn't wait to get back to their son's bedside at Duke Hospital. They walked from the hotel where many friends and family are staying.

""...WE HAVE NOT LEFT HIS SIDE EXCEPT THIS MORNING WHILE HE'S HAVING SOME TESTING.""

Matthew West is in a medically induced coma. Early Monday morning Durham policeman A. Rodriguez drove his patrol car through a flashing red light. He hit the jeep carrying Matthew and 2 friends. The officer and other boys are fine. But Matthew was thrown from the back seat of the jeep.

""OUR SON WAS PARKED OVER AT DUKE EAST CAMPUS AND ROPPED HIS KEYS IN THE DARK... THE ONLY REASON HE WAS IN THE BACK OF THAT CAR WAS HE LOST HIS KEYS.""

""THIS IS WHERE MATTHEW WAS SPENDING HIS SUMMER... IN HIS 10TH YEAR AS A CAMPER OR CAMP COUNSELOR AT CAMP KANATA. HIS FAMILY SAYS IT SAYS AS MUCH AS ANYTHING ABOUT HIS PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER.""

""A FRIEND TO EVERYBODY, A COUNSELOR, AN ADVISOR, A FUN KID TO BE AROUND. NEVER MET A STRANGER. HE'S BEEN OUR GUIDE IN SO MANY WAYS.""

Durham admits officer Rodriguez' fault in the crash. He's on administrative duty while the department conducts an internal investigation. But Matthew's family has nothing to say about pursuing legal action. They're focused on his recovery.

""WE ARE JUST BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF PRAYER... AND A HEALING HAND THAT HE WILL GET BETTER. WE NEED A MIRACLE... THAT'S ALL WE CAN HOPE FOR.""

Matthew is a rising senior at Riverside High School in Durham.

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