ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s been almost a month since tragedy struck a family in Orlando after a driver hit their teenage son and fled the scene.
Joshua Sims, 17, was left in a coma and has undergone surgeries on his brain to alleviate swelling and blood clotting, but in recent days, he’s started to show signs of improvement.
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“My heart was just so full and I couldn’t believe it,” Jennifer Bennett, the teen’s mom, told News 6. “He’s been more aware and he’s actually been able to communicate using his fingers and he’s been opening his eyes.”
The single mother of five said she was singing her favorite song—“More than Words” by Extreme—when she noticed movement in Joshua’s hand.
“It was really special. Joshua was listening, I was singing to him really,” she recalled. “He had gotten to some lyrics of the song I had been singing to him, and just kind of like indicated that, you know, he had been listening and he grabbed my hand and pulled it closer to his heart while he was looking at me dead in the eyes and I just was so overcome and started bawling.”
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Sims was on his skateboard at the intersection of East Colonial and Bonneville Drive on Jan. 29 when a man driving a blue Ford Focus hit him and fled.
The vehicle was found abandoned at a gas station on East Colonial Drive, five miles from where Joshua was hit but investigators haven’t been able to identify the driver.
Authorities told News 6 the owner of the car, a woman, has retained a lawyer and is not cooperating with investigators.
“I don’t understand. I don’t understand why you’d be unwilling to cooperate in a situation like this. I mean it’s a tragedy,” Bennett said.
For now, she’s focusing on her son’s long road to recovery.
“I just remind him that he’s a fighter. I tell him that I love him,” she said. “He’s a miracle and he’s so strong. And… I just feel so blessed. We’re so blessed.”
Joshua remains in the ICU at Orlando Regional hospital and is expected to be there for a while. A family friend set up a GoFundMe page to help Jennifer Bennett with medical expenses.