NJ teen heading home weeks after being struck by hit-and-run driver in Hawaii

Christian DeCola suffered a traumatic brain injury and fractures to his skull and kneecap.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023
NJ teen coming home following hit-and-run crash in Hawaii
The South Jersey native was brought to Queen's Medical Center in Hawaii after suffering from a traumatic brain injury and fractures to his skull and kneecap.

MARLTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A South Jersey teenager who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run crash in Hawaii will soon head home thanks to help from the community.

Christian DeCola, 19, of Maple Shade, NJ, was hit around 10 p.m. on Feb. 12 while he was in Hawaii attending college.

DeCola's mother, Valerie, says her son was riding on a moped for a food service delivery company when he was struck.

"Residents from the university had come out, they had called 911. When I guess the assailant or whoever had hit him noticed that people were coming out, they had backed up and ran over him a second time and then had sped off," said Valerie DeCola.

Christian DeCola

Christian was brought to Queen's Medical Facility after suffering a traumatic brain injury and fractures to his skull and kneecap.

After weeks in the hospital, Monday was a special day.

"We are flying out today via medical transport," Valerie told Action News.

A GoFundMe page helped pay for the more than $20,000 flight back to New Jersey, which DeCola says insurance doesn't cover.

Christian's road to recovery back home will be lengthy and expensive.

His mom says she isn't aware of any arrests but she has a message for whoever is responsible.

"For somebody to knowingly hit a child and see that he was down and run him over again, to knowingly do that, I don't think that's something I could forgive," said DeCola.

Valerie says her son is outgoing, loves theater and enjoys playing his guitar.

The Maple Shade native had just started college in Hawaii last month at Chaminade University of Honolulu.

The university sent Action News this statement: "We were very sorry to hear of Christian's accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as he prepares to return home. The Chaminade community continues to support him, and we wish him a full recovery."

Valerie and her son plan to arrive back home on Tuesday.

He will receive treatment for occupational, physical and speech therapy at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Marlton, New Jersey.