Two boys on the mend after DRW hit-and-run

Sheriff's deputies say they unsure if a second SUV was involved

Boys recovering from hit-and-run

BEND, Ore. - As a father of seven, Vince French is no stranger to dealing with some bumps and bruises. But never before something like this.

"He had blood coming out of his mouth -- his hair was all bloody and dried up and he just looked a mess," French recalled Monday.

Friday night, his 12-year-old son, Maverick, and the boy's best friend, 14-year-old Will Harris, took a skateboarding trip to the Country Store in Deschutes River Woods.

When the sun started setting, French got worried.

"We were about to send a search team out -- and then boom, my phone rang. It was the chaplain from the hospital, and I flipped out," French said Monday at his son's bedside at St. Charles Bend.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says Maverick and Will were struck by at least one SUV -- and the car stopped briefly, then fled.

Sgt. Joe DeLuca said Tuesday they're not ruling out a second dark-colored SUV was involved that might have fled the scene. He said the first SUV did strike the two boys, but the driver, Danny Gifford, 55, immediately stopped to help.

Deluca said Gifford was coming around a corner near Lakeview Drive and Baker Road. he says the setting sun caused a blind spot for Gifford, who is not facing charges at this time.

"The sheriff's office was telling me everything that they had, and I swear to you, I didn't hear anything all the way up until the point when he said, 'There was a second car involved and they drove away.' And instantly, when he said that -- I couldn't even fathom that," French said.

Maverick suffered a broken pelvis, broken femur and had reconstructive surgery on his ankle and foot -- not to mention the road rash.

"It's like one whole side of him is broken, and the other whole side of him is scraped," French said.
Will is still in the ICU, and his mom tells NewsChannel 21 his recovery is taking a little longer.

But on Tuesday, we learned Will Harris was greatly improved overnight. His parents said he woke up and recognized people, but he still will be in the ICU for a few more days.

Meanwhile, Maverick woke up smiling and laughing Tuesday morning, but is still having a hard time with physical therapy.

"They are not out of the woods by any means. They're still sweating it a little bit," French said Monday.

As police continue to investigate, the families are hoping for justice.

"Somebody knows -- somebody knows something," French said. "And it's going to come out -- this is a small town."

When Maverick can finally go home, he has a brand new skateboard waiting for him, courtesy of his grandparent-- some motivation to stay strong and get well soon.

"We can get through this," French said. "He's going to pull through. He's a whole kid still, and I know at some point, he's going to be perfect again, you know?" French said.

Sheriff's deputies said late Friday they were looking for a dark-colored SUV last seen heading west on Baker Road. It was occupied by two males, both in their 40s, one with a goatee and the other described as "unshaven."

If you know anything about the crash, you're asked to call the non-emergency dispatch number at 541-693-6911.

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