FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)— Four months after a hit-and-run crash, a Fort Wayne teen has made a lot of progress. But, life is far from the way it was before July 2, 2023.
Dominic Peterson was riding a Coleman mini bike on St. Joe Center Road near Arlington Parkway North in Fort Wayne when a car struck him in a crosswalk. The driver of that car, 19 year-old Omarion M. Rogers, is accused of fleeing the scene while emergency responders were tending to Dominic.
Dominic suffered a broken arm, vertebrae, and ribs; a traumatic brain injury; and nerve damage in his arm. In August, no movement was possible in his left arm. Now, he is able to move his left hand and fingers, his father, Dan Peterson, said.
Dominic was supposed to start his freshman year of high school in the classroom almost three months ago. But now he has to go through online homeschooling.
According to his mother, Jackie Peterson, when Dominic is not doing school work, a lot of time is spent going to appointments, driving back and forth from Riley Children’s Hospital, and working on improving mobility. He used to go to physical therapy twice a week, but now only goes once due to insurance coverage.
“It’s stressful,” Jackie said. “It means taking days off work. I’m fortunate enough to work for a great place that allows me the time off.”
Regardless of his current struggles, Dominic is still a 14 year-old boy. His father says he is hardworking and his mother says he likes everything about cars and, of course, video games.
“He has such a great personality,” Jackie said. “And even in our darkest moments he still makes us laugh. And I would say that’s been what has held us together.”
According to Dan and Jackie, the hardest part for them is watching their son struggle. And a lot lies ahead for them in the future. Dominic has two 8-hour surgeries scheduled for later this month. One is attempting to repair nerve damage in his shoulder, and the other focuses on stabilizing his neck with pins and rods.
The Peterson family hopes these surgeries are successful and that recovery will go smoothly for Dominic. The many weeks in recovery could be the most difficult time in this process, Jackie said.
The trial date Rogers is set for April 16, 2024.