The mother of an 18-year-old London man critically injured in an unsolved hit-and-run collision last month says her son is showing some signs of improvement, but still faces a long road to recovery.
Tristan Roby has been hospitalized since July 21 when he was struck from behind by a vehicle as he rode his bicycle with a friend along Exeter Road near Wonderland, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury, a fractured leg, bruised lungs, a broken jaw, and several abrasions and contusions.
Nearly three weeks after the crash, which came days shy of Tristan’s 18th birthday, Abby Roby says her son remains in a coma, attached to a ventilator to help him breathe, and fighting a stubborn fever that is likely the result of a returning infection in his right lung.
An electroencephalography test, or EEG, conducted this week brought a positive update on his ongoing recovery compared to one conducted a week after the crash, Roby said.
“It was pretty flat, the first one,” Roby told 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady on Friday. “This one, he’s got a lot of activity. His brain is active, so that’s really good news.
“All of his brain stem activities he responds to now. His pupils are finally dilating, he responds to pain. When he’s stable, and I call it his ‘awake time,’ he’ll follow your voice with his eye, which is something new as well.”
Roby said they can also tell when Tristan is responsive through changes in his blood pressure and breathing.
“Whenever we talk or do anything, it fluctuates. So we know he’s hearing something in there,” she said. “Two days ago his girlfriend, she goes, ‘Oh, you’re so cute, I just want to kiss you,’ and he puckered his lips.
“His friends come by and I just tell them, ‘Just talk about what you’ve been doing and what’s going on. Have a normal conversation so when he wakes up he doesn’t feel so far behind,’ and it really helps.”
A GoFundMe launched by Roby to help cover any legal or medical bills has raised more than $14,000.
“I just ask for prayers. Prayers have taken him a long way — it’s a miracle already he survived the accident,” Roby said, adding it will be even more of a miracle for him to wake up. “That’s what we’re waiting for now.”
The late-night crash remains under investigation by city police. The driver of the vehicle involved remained unidentified as of late July, the last time police issued a public update in the case. The friend Tristan was riding with was not injured and called 911.
Police said at the time of the incident that a passenger of the vehicle was detained by a witness who tailed the vehicle to a parking lot.
Few other details have been released.
Roby said she hopes Tristan’s story spurs more discussion in London about the need for better cycling infrastructure.
“Before this even happened, there’s just so many other families,” Roby said. “Even as a family before this happened, we’ve had long discussions about the city not having proper bike lanes and the busier roads not having even sidewalks.”
Roby said she’s trying to rally local cyclists to take part in a ride in September to raise awareness about the issue.
With files from Matthew Trevithick and Jess Brady