01/05/06 — GMS teens progressing well

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GMS teens progressing well

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 5, 2006 1:53 PM

The progress made by two Greenwood Middle School students since being struck by a vehicle on the way to school is "unbelievable," says one of their teachers.

On the morning of Nov. 18, Carson Thomas and Mackenzie Wessels, both 13, were hit by a sports utility vehicle while in the crosswalk near their school on Ash Street around 7:30. A third youth was uninjured.

The eighth-graders were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Mackenzie was released nearly a week later, while Carson remained in a coma in the intensive care unit. He was listed in critical condition, but has since been upgraded to good condition.

Jane Mull, eighth-grade language arts teacher at the school, has been tutoring Mac at his home on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. She said that both youths have made marvelous progress.

Carson is still in a semi-coma, she said Wednesday night. His tracheotomy tube has been removed, and he still requires a feeding tube, she said, but he is attempting rehab and is out of the intensive care unit.

He is undergoing physical, occupational and speech therapy, Ms. Mull said, and is also responding well to pet therapy. Different animals have been used as a way to encourage responses, she explained.

Tape-recorded messages compiled by his classmates were also therapeutic, Ms. Mull said.

"A second tape was made by students with messages and one student brought in a guitar and sang," she said.

Carson's mother also visited the school on Tuesday, she said, which was very helpful for the student body.

"Mr. (Larry) Dean, the principal, put her on the intercom so she could send a message to the students," she said. "She thanked everyone for the prayers and asked them to continue praying."

As for Mac, his recovery is ahead of schedule, Ms. Mull said.

"The bones have just about knitted back together," she said. She said his injuries required pins be put in his left leg, while several screws in his right leg will remain there permanently.

"If everything continues, they're thinking about taking out the pins later this month,"ahead of the original prognosis, which was March, she said.

She said in addition to her efforts to help Mac keep up his studies, he receives daily therapy at home. His father also frequently takes him outside in his wheelchair, and before Christmas paid a visit to Greenwood.

"He said he wanted to see everybody and to do the crosswalk and get over that," she said. When she asked him how it was to revisit the scene of the accident, she said he told her, "'It was OK ... pretty awesome.'"

The identity of the driver facing charges in the accident has come under question, and he remains in Wayne County Jail under $200,000 secured bond.