Boy Struck by Pickup Truck Continues to Improve
After two weeks in the intensive care unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, 8-year-old Slayton Maness does not know how he got there.
On Nov. 3, the Robbins Elementary School third-grader was struck by a pickup truck as he was crossing North Moore Road to board a school bus.
The N.C. Highway Patrol reported that the bus had activated its flashing lights, was slowing to a stop and had yet to deploy its stop sign when Maness left his driveway, attempted to cross the road and was struck by the truck driven by Billy Joe Binkley, 60, of Bonlee.
State Highway Patrol Trooper D.P. Barber said Binkley was not exceeding the 55 mph speed limit on the road at the time of the accident. No charges were filed.
Besides various breaks and fractures in his neck, ribs, pelvis, ankle and and left hand, Slayton experienced severe head trauma and suffered a stroke at some point after the vehicle struck him.
After the accident, he was airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he has remained in the intensive care unit, though he is no longer listed in critical condition.
His mother, Karen Maness — who witnessed the accident — said she, her husband and her mother-in-law have been in Chapel Hill with their son since, taking turns staying with him overnight. She said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon that her son regained consciousness last week.
Doctors kept him sedated after the accident to stabilize his condition.
Maness said her son woke up asking her and her husband questions about why he was in the hospital.
“My son doesn’t remember anything [about the accident],” she said. “He’s been asking a lot of questions about what happened, but we have not yet told him because I don’t think he’s quite ready yet.”
The family was expecting Slayton to be transferred to a rehabilitation center in Charlotte today, where he will undergo treatment for the next few weeks.
“The rehab is to help his condition with the stroke and to help him learn how to walk again,” Maness said. “He has several injuries. So he has a lot to work with.”
Besides the questions, Maness said her son has been trying to deal with the pain of his injuries and the inability to move after the stroke left the left side of his body paralyzed.
“He hurts a lot,” she said.
Maness is unsure what kind of timeline she and her family can expect for her son’s recovery, though doctors have told her that his progress so far has been “excellent.”
“It’s all depending on his progress,” she said.
Students in Slayton’s class have made several cards wishing him well. Maness said her son enjoys looking at them because they let him know that his friends back home are thinking about him.
“He’s got three big envelopes full of cards,” she said. “He loves them, and he’s happy about them.”
Robbins Elementary principal Heather Seawell has visited Maness and remained in contact with the family, though she has not seen him since he has regained consciousness.
Seawell and others from the school system plan to bring more warm wishes to Maness at the rehabilitation center once the family is settled there.
“We’re going to see him in Charlotte as soon as possible and bring him some things to decorate his room there,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday. “Several of his classes have made videos for him to wish him good tidings. We’re really excited to share some of the videos to keep his spirits up.”
Slayton’s classmates ask about him often.
“They miss him, and they’re sending good wishes that he gets better quickly,” Seawell said.
She added that students and teachers have been coming to her with different ideas about how to keep Slayton connected to the school.
“It’s really been a combination of things,” Seawell said, “just different ways we can make sure that he’s still a part of our Robbins family.”
His class hopes to eventually use Skype to call and video chat with Slayton, so he can hear from his classmates directly.
The Robbins Elementary fifth-grade leadership program held a popcorn sale fundraiser for students and staff Friday in conjunction with the school’s PTO to benefit the family.
Other Moore County schools have reached out as well.
Vass-Lakeview Elemen-tary School assembled a “comfort basket” for the Manesses to have during their stay in the hospital, and Aberdeen Elementary School has held a fundraiser to help support the family.
Seawell said the Robbins community intends to organize a larger fundraiser for the family as well.
“We are here to support the family in any way,” she said. “The hope is to work in conjunction with the family and plan one big [fundraiser] with all the community and local churches coming together to do something. We’ve got to take it one thing at a time.”
She added that at the end of the day, the most important thing is seeing her student show signs of a strong recovery.
“I’m so pleased with his progress,” she said. “We couldn’t be more thankful.”
As many anticipate the beginning of the holiday season next week, the Maness family has put any plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas on hold to prepare for a long recovery in Charlotte.
“As far as we know, we’re not doing anything,” Maness said. “Our holidays right now are off.”
The family is more focused on trying to deal with what happened together and to be there for Slayton.
“I witnessed the whole accident, and it’s been rough,” she said. “I’m just happy that our son is OK.”
Maness is also grateful to those in Moore County who have offered the family so much support.
“We don’t have any money up here,” she said. “A lot of people have been helping with donations and buying Slayton toys and stuff like that. I want to thank everyone for helping.”
She said she hopes that the community will continue to remember the family in their prayers.
Contact Hannah Sharpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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