Hit-and-run victim ‘lucky to be alive’

July 27, 2010

By Brónagh  Murphy

A Crossmaglen man who suffered severe injuries when he was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run collision in America last month says he feels ‘lucky to be alive’ following his ordeal.

Enda Carlisle returned to Crossmaglen on Thursday and is recuperating from his injuries at this sister’s home in the town.

Speaking to The Examiner, he said he is delighted to be back home with his family, having spent more than three weeks in a New Jersey hospital.

Mr Carlisle was in the US visiting his brother when he was left for dead on a New Jersey street following the incident on June 25th.

“I was crossing a dual carriageway when I was hit by a car.  I was thrown up in the air and landed about 30 feet away.  The driver didn’t even stop and just left me lying there.  I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital a few days later,” he explained.

A passing ambulance crew discovered Enda lying at the roadside and took him to the nearby Hackensack University Medical Center where he was admitted to intensive care.  He spent nine days on life-support and underwent surgery to repair extensive internal injuries.  He also suffered a broken pelvis and deep lacerations to his head and shoulder.

It was two days after the accident before any of Enda’s family knew what had happened.  His brother, Gavin, had gone to his hotel looking for him and was told to contact the hospital.  When he first saw his brother, Gavin didn’t recognise him, such were the extent of his injuries.  Meanwhile his two sisters, Martina and Sandra, travelled from Crossmaglen to be at his beside.

“I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time after we arrived.  It was terrible,” Martina said, adding that family was fearful he may not have survived.

Following intensive rehabilitation in New Jersey, Enda was discharged to the care of his family and allowed to make the journey home.

He is awaiting appointments with surgeons here and may face further operations.  He is also undergoing intensive physiotherapy to regain the proper use of his legs and, in the meantime, is reliant on a walking aid and wheelchair to get around.

“I’m able to use the Zimmer frame to make my way around the house.  I know it will take a long time, maybe months, to get back on my feet again but I’m just glad to have the chance.  I know I’m lucky to be alive,” Enda said.