A Cobb County second grader hit by a car as he crossed the street last week is now out of a coma, his family said.
The grandmother of 8-year-old Eesah Johnson said he is doing better, but still unconscious and hooked up to breathing machines.
“He’s still fighting for his life,” Raquel Young told AJC.com on Wednesday morning. “He’s not strong enough yet to breathe on his own, but we’re happy that he’s out of a coma. That’s the main thing.”
Doctors will perform an MRI this week to determine what, if any, brain damage Johnson suffered in the wreck, she said. The LaBelle Elementary student has been on life support at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital since the May 6 hit-and-run.
Johnson was trying to cross Olive Springs Road to get to a friend’s house when a black BMW SUV struck him. The impact of the collision launched him 30 feet in the air, witnesses said.
Johnson suffered head trauma and several broken bones. The driver of the SUV, later identified as Lazaro Rodriguez, did not stop to help, according to Cobb County police.
Lazaro, 59, of Lithia Springs, turned himself in and was arrested Saturday on a charge of hit-and-run resulting in serious injury. He was released from the Cobb County Jail one day later on a $25,000 bond.
Young said she’s grateful Lazaro decided to turn himself into police.
“He gave me so much peace,” she said, adding she’s already forgiven the man. “It gave me a whole lot peace because we can focus on Eesah now ... I just want to know why he left my baby on the side of the road.”
While Johnson’s condition is improving, Young said her grandson still has a long way to go.
“I want my baby to open his eyes and say something to us like he used to,” she said. “I want to hear his voice again.”
A community fundraiser is being held at LaBelle Elementary to help support Johnson’s family.
The school is accepting monetary donations, gas cards, gift cards and meal cards for Johnson’s family through May 23, the Cobb County School District said. Donations can be made out to LaBelle Elementary’s community-based fundraiser and sent to 230 Cresson Drive, Marietta, Ga. 30060.
Young said the support from Johnson’s school and classmates has been overwhelming.
“All the letters and love, it’s been incredible,” said Young, who has read to her grandson in the hospital each day since the wreck. “I want him to hear my voice ... He’s a strong little boy and I’m praying every day that Eesah opens his eyes.”
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