Bell teen in crash regaining his speech


Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 11:16 p.m.
HIGH SPRINGS - A Bell High School student will be able to speak his first words today since a crash between his car and a horse left him paralyzed two weeks ago.
Adam Garner of High Springs was heading north on State Road 47 in Trenton on New Year's Day about 11:30 p.m. when he hit the horse, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Garner had just turned 19 that day and was returning home from his girlfriend's house.
There was heavy fog and Garner didn't see the horse in his lane before he hit it, according to FHP.
The horse rolled up onto the roof of the car. The roof crushed and came down onto Garner's head, said his mother, Suzanne Delgado.
A friend of Garner's was driving on the same road and reported the crash, Delgado said.
A few minutes later, the mother got a call from the Florida Highway Patrol.
"It's every mother's worst nightmare to get that call," Delgado said. "It took me a good 10 minutes talking to the Highway Patrol to let it sink in."
Garner was paralyzed from the middle of his chest down, Delgado said. He was on a ventilator until Tuesday, when doctors performed operated and puta tracheotomy. A tracheotomy creates an incision in a person's windpipe that allows for breathing.
Garner will now be able to whisper, Delgado said.
Until now, family members have been trying to read his lips to communicate with him.
Garner will probably be able to start rehabilitation in a few weeks and doctors will try to help him regain the use of his limbs, Delgado said.
And while Garner's mother said she doesn't know when her son will leave Shands at the University of Florida, at least he has plenty of visitors.
"Adam has tons of friends coming to visit him," Delgado said.
"In the first two days, like 500 people came," she said.
Authorities are still trying to determine whose horse was on the road and Delgado said she has a message for horse owners.
"I really wish people who owned horses would have them tagged so they could be identified," Delgado said.
Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@ gvillesun.com.

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