The 7-year-old boy who was struck by a pickup while walking to his school bus last month is out of intensive care and began rehabilitation on Tuesday.
As Ramaden Ahmed Waliye continues his recovery after the Feb. 27 incident, his mother said she is hoping to meet the good Samaritan who stopped at the scene, tended to her son and who she believes saved his life.
“I would like to personally thank her,” Shona Tahiro said in an interview Tuesday. “She attended to him immediately” while her son lay on the road.
The boy and his two siblings were crossing S. Robert Street at Wood Street on the city’s West Side about 6:30 a.m. to get on a school bus that had stopped at the intersection and had its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Waliye was hit by a southbound driver while in the crosswalk. His brother and sister were not hit.
Tahiro said she didn’t see the impact but saw the aftermath from her front window.
“It was painful to see the him on the road,” she said through a translator who is helping the family. By the time she got to the scene, first responders had arrived and the woman who had stopped to help had left.
Waliye was rushed to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul. He spent more than a week in intensive care, followed by a few days in the neuroscience unit. His recovery continued Tuesday as he was moved to the hospital’s rehabilitation unit.
The boy suffered bone fractures and other significant injuries, hospital spokesman Nick Hanson said. Waliye is unable to speak but can communicate with doctors and family members using gestures such as thumbs up. As part of his recovery, Waliye will undergo physical, speech and occupational therapy.
“He’s doing good,” Tahiro said Tuesday. “He’s in good hands. Rehab today, that is a big change for us.”
And a big change for the energetic Waliye, who is in second grade at Higher Ground Academy, a college preparatory charter school in St. Paul. His mother described him as a “funny boy” who likes to read, play soccer and run around.
The family’s two other children, who also attend Higher Ground, have been shaken by the incident, said the boy’s father, Ahmed Sato. His children are afraid to get on a school bus, he said.
“They are not happy,” he said. “We now drive them to school.”
Police on Tuesday said they were still investigating and no charges had been filed against the pickup truck driver, a 60-year-old St. Paul man.
The pickup truck driver was heading south on Robert Street when the crash occurred. The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with officers, police spokesman Steve Linders said.
Records show the driver had a valid driver’s license with an ignition interlock restriction, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) said. Alcohol did not appear to have been a factor in the crash, police said.