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Polk Co. teen undergoes multiple surgeries after being hit in crosswalk

Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 18:35:08-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland teen has undergone his sixth surgery in a week.

Police say a driver rear-ended a sedan and then plowed into 16-year-old Christopher Jones on Feb. 26. According to reports, Jones was in a crosswalk when the crash happened, it was just after midnight.

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“I picked him up and held his head in my hands - I’m drenched and covered in blood,” said Ned Pole.

He tells ABC Action News he was just leaving a bar and restaurant when the driver of a Ford F-150 ran through a red light, causing the serious crash.

Instantly, Ned ran to the teen to see if he needed help. Jones was still alive and even talking.

“Just telling this young man 'please stay with me, please stay with me,'” Ned said.

Recounting the crash at Imperial Boulevard and South Florida Avenue in Lakeland, Ned says he’s traumatized. Both for what he saw, but also that no one has been arrested for the crash.

“[The driver] hit Chris so hard that he takes Chris with him and shoots him forward,” Ned said, pointing down South Florida Avenue.

Investigators are not able to release the actual report regarding the crash. They told ABC Action News serious injury cases must first be completed before released to the public.

Lakeland police was able to confirm that a white Ford F-150 rear-ended a 2001 Nissan Sentra.

After hitting the Nissan, the F-150 then struck Christopher who was said to be walking in a crosswalk at the time. The Ford then hit a curb, a power pole and a tree, coming to final rest on the sidewalk.

Wednesday marks Jones’ sixth surgery. Early Wednesday morning, surgeons removed a lower portion of his leg.

The Jones’ family attorney sent us this statement,

This crash has shocked and saddened Christopher Jones’ family. They are devastated by this senseless and tragic crash which has left him as an amputee at only 16 years old. Christopher’s family asks that the community pray for his quick recovery.
The Pansler Law Firm, P.A.

ABC Action News uncovered a new report which shows Florida ranks as one of the top five states contributing to both pedestrian accidents and deaths in the nation.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association estimates more than 6,500 pedestrian deaths happened in 2019 — the highest number in more than 30 years.

“He’s never going to be able to walk on his own two legs again,” Ned said.

Both family and friends say the 16-year-old was walking home to get his seizure medication when the crash took place.

“Shrapnel and glass flew at us,” Ned said.

The same report by the GHSA shows that most crashes happen at night and suggest the need for safer crossing across the nation in order to make pedestrians and vehicles more visible.

Family and those who saw the crash would like to see those changes too. But they say they’re glad Christopher was not one of the fatal statistics.

“It’s a miracle,” Ned said. “I know it’s something way stronger than us, it was a spiritual force.”

The crash is still under investigation, charges against the driver(s) are pending the final outcome.