KALISPELL – A child who was struck and rolled under a truck along a busy Bigfork street earlier this month is on the road to recovery. A nurse’s quick action helped save the 4-year-old’s life — and now his mother has a message for the driver who hit him.
"It was just like a normal everyday day. I just woke up that morning and I was cooking some eggs and my little boy was sitting there and then I looked up and he wasn’t there anymore and he was running down to that street and I was right behind him but just wasn’t fast enough," Valerie Jones recalled.
Jones is describing the moment her 4-year-old son Sterling was hit by a truck along busy Highway 35 in Bigfork. The child darted out into the roadway and was struck by the vehicle. The child was rolled under the vehicle.
"I was northbound [and] watched a beautiful blonde-haired blue-eyed boy running down a hill and watched him get hit by the truck," said Lizzy Dwyer who works as a nurse in the Kalispell Regional Medical Center Emergency Room.
Dwyer had just finished a night shift at KRMC and happened to be in the right place at the right time.
"I approached him and he was unresponsive. He did have a pulse but he wasn’t breathing so I started respirations and luckily in my car I had my pocket valve mask that I had got my very first day of nursing school and I grabbed that," Dwyer said.
"And I was able to create a better seal so I could give more accurate respirations and I gave a handful and eventually he did give me one spontaneous breath and it was quite beautiful and amazing," she continued.
"When Sterling came in I did not admit him that night but spent that first morning with him. He had splinic laceration — a liver laceration. He’s got some skull fractures, he has rib fractures, pelvic fractures, contusions to his lungs. Those were all the initial injuries he had from the start — not including what developed later when we got more imaging," said Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse Danielle Hinerman.
"We weren’t really sure if he wasn’t going to make it for quite a few days but he’s pulled through, he’s been such a rock star he’s just getting better and better," Jones said.
Sterling’s mother says its a miracle he’s alive and she has a message for the driver.
"It’s not your fault, and I know you did everything that you could to stop in time," Jones said. "And there was so much that went wrong that day but there was so much that went right and we’re going to be okay as a family and I don’t want you to hold this on your shoulders."
The Montana Highway Patrol found no violations by the driver ruling that tall grass and a sign obscured vision at the intersection.
The driver of that vehicle was on vacation from Oregon and with the help of KRMC he was connected with Sterling’s parents and the news of Sterling’s recovery was shared — in hopes of bringing healing to all.
Sterling’s mother says he will have a long road ahead of him and they are both at Saint Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Seattle for the next leg of treatment.
A Gofundme Page has also been set up for Sterling. All donations will go to his family for medical expenses and extra expenses from their stay at the hospital during this time.
Watch extended interviews from this moving story below: