Victim of a Hit and Run
Victim of a Hit and Run

Passer-by saves teenager with CPR skills

PRESTON Potter, 16, might not be alive today if a trainee nurse had not stopped to resuscitate him, after he was injured in a hit-and-run while crossing a Gold Coast road 11 weeks ago.

"Preston stopped breathing twice while she was giving him CPR. That beautiful girl saved him,'' Preston's mother Shona Potter said.

Now she and husband Gavin Potter want to see schools and businesses encouraging CPR training, to give more people that power to save lives.

Preston Potter, 16, victim of a hit-and-run on the Gold Coast, with parents Gavin and Shona Potter. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Preston Potter, 16, victim of a hit-and-run on the Gold Coast, with parents Gavin and Shona Potter. Picture: Nigel Hallett

And they also want to see tougher penalties for drug driving, after the driver whose car hit their son at Burleigh Waters on June 6, was charged with that offence on August 20.

Preston suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent 10 weeks in hospitals, including 14 days in an induced coma and weeks in a Brisbane brain rehabilitation unit.

He had left his grandmother's home, with two mates, to get some fast food that night and while his friends made it across the road, Preston was hit and thrown in the air.

Preston Potter, 16, was the victim of a hit-and-run on the Gold Coast, with his friend Zakk Hislop, 17, who was with Preston at the time of the accident. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Preston Potter, 16, was the victim of a hit-and-run on the Gold Coast, with his friend Zakk Hislop, 17, who was with Preston at the time of the accident. Picture: Nigel Hallett

The driver, 44, who left the crash scene but called police minutes later, will appear in court on September 11, also charged over leaving the crash scene and driving an unregistered vehicle.

Preston, who had lined up an interview for a job as an apprentice plumber the day after the accident, is back home with his parents and two sisters, but still has a long road to recovery.

"He's devastated by his injuries, which are not allowing him to drive, work or study,'' Mrs Potter said.

 

Preston Potter's family mark a small victory in his fight to recover from an alleged hit and run accident on the Gold Coast. Picture: Facebook.
Preston Potter's family mark a small victory in his fight to recover from an alleged hit and run accident on the Gold Coast. Picture: Facebook.

"After this terrible incident I've been held back from my daily routine that I enjoyed,'' Preston, who had played junior rugby league, said.

"I'm hoping to get back to what I was doing - plumbing. I used to go driving every day. That's all been taken away.''

While he remembers nothing of the accident, his parents will never forget the night they got the call telling them their son had been hit by a car.

"I was in shock. We were screaming 'This can't be true','' Mr Potter said.

Preston Potter, 16, with parents Gavin and Shona and siblings Ava, 15 and Isla, 8. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Preston Potter, 16, with parents Gavin and Shona and siblings Ava, 15 and Isla, 8. Picture: Nigel Hallett

They arrived at Gold Coast University Hospital before their injured son, anxiously checking every ambulance that arrived.

"We were thinking 'Is he dead? Is he lying in the back of an ambulance motionless? A social worker said 'It's pretty dire. We don't think you should see him','' Mr Potter said.

Their son, whose face was covered in blood, had suffered severe brain trauma and had multiple brain bleeds and a fractured femur.

"It was touch and go for days,'' Mr Potter said.

Preston spent 17 days in the intensive care unit, and had post traumatic amnesia for 34 days. He still has only 20 per cent vision in one eye.

Preston Potter undergoes eye tests as dad Gavin Potter watches. Picture: Facebook
Preston Potter undergoes eye tests as dad Gavin Potter watches. Picture: Facebook

"He's still got a massive task ahead of him, in terms of rehabilitation and he may need another operation,'' Mrs Potter, who has taken time off work to look after her son, said.

"He's walking now. He can't walk far, but he can walk. His speech is okay. He's got some memory but there are things he doesn't remember.

"I'm just grateful for every second of every day for what we've got.''

Gavin Potter says he wants people to realise that traffic injury is the biggest killer of Australian children aged under 15.

"We believe this was a preventable accident,'' lawyer Alison Barrett of Maurice Blackburn, said.

Preston Potter, 16, in a hospital rehabilitation unit. Supplied.
Preston Potter, 16, in a hospital rehabilitation unit. Supplied.

"Preston now needs 24 hour care and we are pursuing a common law claim for him.

"It is a road user's duty to make sure he or she is taking all appropriate actions to ensure they are not hitting someone. A moment's inattention can have really serious and long-term impacts.''