High school sophomore Matthew Cruz hopes to walk again after a Boston bus crash in February broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Although Cruz is working hard on his recovery, building his stamina and hitting the books again, physicians say he has a long way to go before he’ll be able to walk.
Cruz doesn’t remember the crash. “The last thing I remember from the accident is getting onto the bus, five minutes into the ride, then after that nothing,” he said in his first appearance before reporters at Magee Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia.
More than 30 students and chaperones were injured on February 2 when the driver of a Calvary Coach bus ignored low-height warning signs and slammed into an overpass on the way home from a trip to Harvard. Cruz was sitting in the row of the bus that took the brunt of the impact. He was on a ventilator when he arrived at Magee Rehabilitation Center after staying at a Boston hospital for weeks. Cruz recently had his tracheotomy tube removed, and he is now able to move his arms.
Attorneys Jim Ronca and Alan Schnoll explained that Cruz will need ramps, a modified bathroom in his home and an accessible van to accommodate his wheelchair.
The press conference came just days after Massachusetts authorities charged bus driver Samuel J. Jackson with criminal negligence along with civil charges of failing to obey signs and driving a bus on an unauthorized road.
Ronca and Schnoll are still investigating factors that could have led to the crash. “While the state may punish Mr. Jackson, our purpose, in addition to finding compensation for Matt, is to find out why safety rules were violated, what breakdowns occurred in Mr. Jackson’s training, whether more signs would have been helpful, whether the GPS should have alerted the driver, and whether a one day trip to Boston with one driver is a safe idea in the first place,” the attorneys said in a statement.