PHOENIX — Friday was supposed to be a great day for Damien Ramos.
The 17-year-old had bought himself a car after months of saving, and to celebrate, he invited three friends to join him on a ride.
“They were just cruising, having fun,” said Ramos’ father, Michael Campbell. “He was very eager to show his friends his hard work.”
The group of friends drove around Phoenix Friday night.
Around 10 p.m., they were near 34th Street and McDowell Road when they were involved in a car crash that included a Phoenix police patrol vehicle and three other cars.
Investigators said the “male driver of what appears to be the at-fault vehicle ran from the scene after the collision.” He remains at large, police said.
Ramos’s car caught on fire after the impact. He was rescued by firefighters with several broken bones.
“He tried to get out, but his legs were broken,” Campbell said. “He also had a cheekbone fracture, which they installed a plate on his face and then they had to do some reconstructive surgery on his face due to some of the damage he got.”
Ramos also had nerve damage to one of his eyes that resulted in partial facial paralysis, Campbell said. He also required a blood transfusion.
One of Ramos’s friends, Marco Anthony Salgado Roman, 18, tragically died on the scene.
“Heartbreaking. You know, [my son] was unaware that that happened until we told him just a few hours later and he was torn,” Campbell said.
Ramos has undergone three surgeries; another is scheduled for later this week.
His father said the 17-year-old is heavily sedated and experiencing a lot of pain.
“He’ll be in a wheelchair for quite some time,” Campbell said.
It will be a long road to recovery that the father hopes will end with his son walking on his high school graduation day next year.
Campbell said his son and the friends in the car were students at Camelback High School.
“I’m grateful that my son is still here and we’re still going to get to spend time together,” the father said.
Campbell hopes the individual suspected of causing the crash “finds it in themselves to come forward and take accountability for what happened so we can heal from this tragedy.”
Ramos, one of his friends and a Phoenix police officer remain hospitalized due to the crash Monday.
It’s unclear at this time how the accident happened.
Anyone interested in helping Damien Ramos with his medical expenses can donate here.
VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Bomberos auxiliaron a un adolescente luego de que su auto ardiera en llamas en un accidente de tránsito
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