The mother of a college student who remains in the ICU is speaking out about the impact an accident has had on her son.
On October 22, UT Tyler basketball player Justin Bartie was hit by a vehicle while walking near the campus.
"He just said he was walking and the next thing you know, he remembers looking up and she was screaming 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" says Sharisse Bartie, Justin’s mother.
According to the crash report, Justin was walking near the 2700 block of Old Omen Road, which is just outside the university, when he was struck by a Volkswagen driven by a Tyler woman. The driver told police she didn't see Bartie until after she hit him.
"My thing is, if you're driving a car and it's broad daylight, you're going to see somebody 6' 3" walking on the street," says Sharisse.
The driver of the Volkswagen was not found to be at fault but, she did receive a citation for driving without insurance.
Investigators say when Justin was asked about the crash on the way to the hospital, he said he didn’t remember details. Now, Justin tells KLTV he remembers that he was walking as close to the curb as possible and didn’t see the car coming before he was hit.
Sharisse says investigators never returned to get Justin’s side of the story.
“I wouldn’t remember if I had just got hit by a car but, as time goes on your memory is going to come back,” says Sharisse. “He remembers now and for them not to come back and talk to him, that’s a big concern of mine.”
Almost three weeks after the crash, Justin remains in the ICU with a fractured bone in his neck. At this time, the basketball player is still unable to move his lower extremities. Doctors are uncertain if Justin will be permanently paralyzed.
Sharisse says something needs to be done in that area so this doesn't happen again.
"They should have sidewalks, I mean, where else do you want people to walk?” says Sharisse. “It would make it a lot better for pedestrians to not have to lose a life or get injured if there was a place for them to safely walk to class."
Bartie is expected to remain in the hospital until December, and he will then return home to Louisiana and begin therapy.
Last week UT Tyler announced plans to make the university a more pedestrian-friendly campus.
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Related: UT-Tyler student struck by vehicle, hospitalized
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