Manteca infantryman Nick Cargill, 24, opened his eyes for the first time after being in a coma for seven days following a horrific New Year’s morning crash caused by an alleged drunken driver.
His sister Amanda O’Neill said the Sierra High graduate seemed as shocked as the Doctors Medical Center staff when he awoke Thursday at 4 a.m. to find himself in a hospital bed connected to tubes. He began to try and pull the IV tubes out of his body. She said it was quite a turn around.
O’Neill added that her brother was able to squeeze someone’s hand signaling the answer to a question asked him by a family member with him also following simple commands of the medical staff with the ventilator also being removed.
The Army specialist had been struck broadside by a pickup truck that police said was driven by a 24-year-old. The pickup truck crashed into Cargill’s car in the intersection of Airport Way and Woodward Avenue at 2 a.m. Jan. 1. He had been home on a two-week leave after serving two tours in Iraq and before following orders to leave for Afghanistan after a scheduled training at Fort Irwin on the High Desert.
Cargill had called his sister after seeing the New Year in with friends and said he wouldn’t need a ride home because he had not been drinking. The news of the crash came later and before dawn when police pounded on his mother’s door telling her that her son had been in a major accident and had been transported by ambulance to the Modesto hospital.
As he hopefully continues to improve the Army is planning to send him to a neurological rehabilitation hospital where he can receive the best possible treatment toward his recovery after receiving a broken neck and brain injuries and surgery following the crash.
The community has responded to his situation and has donated nearly $5,000 to a “Go Fund Me” account on Facebook.
The felony DUI suspect is scheduled to appear in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court on Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m.