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'Make sure you're paying attention' Family of Arizona teen hit by car pushes for school zone safety

Chris Lucero was on life support and left with traumatic brain injuries after he was hit by a car while walking to school.

PHOENIX — At 15 years old, Chris Lucero had to learn how to walk, talk, eat, and write again.

Last year, he was hit by a car while crossing the street while walking to school and missed out on his freshman year with his friends.

“We consider it a miracle to be here,” said Moenay Rodriguez, Lucero’s mother. “It took him six surgeries to get him to where he is now.”

Lucero was hit by a driver on August 2, 2021, on 59th Avenue, south of Baseline Road.

RELATED: 'He has such a great thirst for life': Valley teen on life support after being struck by car while walking to school

It was his second day at Betty Fairfax High School but his first time walking alone.

Phoenix police said Lucero was not on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, but witnesses told Rodriguez that cars stopped to let him cross the road when a woman driving a black Nissan Altima struck him.

Lucero suffered several fractures and a traumatic brain injury. He was on life support for several months.

“He had to learn how to walk again, had to learn how to eat, write again, talk again,” said Christopher Lucero, the boy's father. “He’s come a long way.”

A year after the accident, the freshman is getting ready to return to school.

“I feel really good about this,” he said. “Mainly scared, but a little excited.”

But going back will be different this time around. He will require special classes that will work around his therapy appointments twice weekly.

“I can’t say he is 100%. Still needs a lot of work,” Rodriguez said.

Safer school zones 

As school districts across the state prepare to welcome students back to classrooms, young Lucero’s family hopes their long-year battle to recovery raises awareness when people drive or walk through school zones.

“Anyone that is going through school zones, make sure that you are paying attention. Make sure you are not on your phone. It’s easy to say, but it’s easy to get distracted,” Christopher Lucero, said.

The family recommends talking to children about the dangers of not using crosswalks and not risk it, even if they think it’s okay to cross.

“All it takes is one second, one blink of an eye and it can change yours of somebody else’s whole life,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what we want to avoid.”

The boy’s mother said they are grateful for the community’s support.

“We’re here, we’re alive, we’re happy, and we’re thankful,” she added.

Chris Lucero echoed that message.

“I want to say thank you to everyone that prayed for me,” he said.

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