OAKLAND (AP) — A 25-year-old man who was struck by a pickup truck and had his wallet stolen while he lay gravely injured on an Oakland street has spoken his first words since awakening from a weekslong coma.
Greg Lowrie said his name and age on Thursday and was able to greet his mother for the first time since the truck struck his bicycle on Jan. 13 and threw him 30 feet, the Oakland Tribune reported.
“He said, ‘Hi, Mom.’ “ Until then, “I wasn’t sure he knew who I was,” Maggie Lowrie told the newspaper.
Lowrie still faces a long recovery from the head injury, broken pelvis and fractured spine he suffered in the accident. When he first was rushed to Highland Hospital in Oakland, his total lack of responsiveness earned him a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, a widely used measure of the severity of brain damage.
“To put that in perspective, it’s as low as you can get,” Gregory Victorino, the hospital’s chief of trauma services, told the Tribune.
Lowrie’s recovery has been complicated by the fact that he was born with a heart defect that had required multiple surgeries and regular medical care before the crash, Victorino said. He is scheduled to be moved from a hospital to a rehabilitation center this month.
“I don’t know if you want to call it a miracle, just the fact that he did pull through that is pretty amazing,” Victorino said.
The accident sparked outrage in the San Francisco Bay Area when police revealed that bystanders who witnessed the crash lifted Lowrie’s wallet and the wallet of the pickup’s 81-year-old driver, who had stopped to help the injured cyclist. The thieves have not been caught, Oakland Police Officer Frank Bonifacio said.
Lowrie’s injuries were the latest in a series of adversities faced by him and his mother, the Tribune said. At the time of the crash, he was biking to a methadone clinic where he was seeking help for a heroin addiction he acquired after a lifetime of health problems, his mother said.
Maggie Lowrie, who has visited her son every day since he was hospitalized, had become severely depressed after losing her license to practice law in 2013 along with the family’s home of 24 years. She lives in an RV she shared with her son before he was injured.
“I didn’t think I was this strong,” she said.
Since Greg Lowrie started speaking again, his longest sentence has been eight words long. It was, “Show me how to get out of here,” his mother said