MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — A short walk to school left 14-year-old Chris Lucero on life support after he was hit by a car when he was trying to cross the road.
It was his second day of high school at Betty Fairfax High in Laveen, the first time his parents allowed him to walk to class.
“He was very excited, he said, ‘I’m a big kid now,' and asked to go alone,” Lucero’s mother, Moenay Rodriguez said. “We gave him his water bottle, his cookies and he headed out.”
But Lucero never made it to school.
Thirty minutes after leaving his house, he was hit by a car as he attempted to cross the road near 59th Avenue and Baseline Road shortly after 8 a.m.
The Phoenix Police Department said Lucero entered the roadway where there was no sidewalk.
Witnesses told Rodriguez cars were stopped letting her son cross the road, but a woman driving a black Nissan Altima didn’t see him and struck him.
Lucero wasn't distracted by a phone, and his family made sure of that.
"He doesn't have a cellphone for that same reason," his mom said.
Authorities said the driver remained at the scene and is not facing any charges or citations.
Lucero was rushed to the hospital, the schools’ principal rode with him on the ambulance, Rodriguez said.
Lucero suffered a head injury, fractured his pelvis and two ribs, and has bruised lungs. He is on life support following two brain surgeries and remains in critical, but stable condition, his parents said.
“He’s a very special and bright kid, he’s very loved,” Rodriguez said. “He’s just that child that just stands out.”
Although Lucero wanted to be a “big kid,” Rodriguez said he was a kid at heart. He loves to read and go to the library. "Harry Potter" is his favorite.
“He has such a great thirst for life,” said Christopher Lucero, the boy's father. “It’s just very unfortunate that this happened to him.”
The younger Lucero will be on life support for an undetermined amount of time. His parents said doctors are waiting for his brain to normalize after it swelled following surgery.
When he wakes up, his room at Children’s Hospital will be decorated with family pictures, a Goofy hat, and a teddy bear the younger Lucero picked out during his birthday celebration vacation in June. His parents said they want him to feel at home.
“We pray that he’s hearing us and that he’s going to wake up and tell us that he was listening to us talk to him,” Rodriguez said.
As the family prays for his recovery, they are asking other drivers to be vigilant when on the road.
They have set up a GoFundMe account to help them with expenses incurred following the accident.
“We just ask anybody that if you’re in a school zone that you be extra cautious because you never know what a kid is going to do,” the boy's dad, Christopher Lucero said. “We don’t want another family to go through this.”
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.