Community rallies to help Huffman teen critically injured in rollover crash

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by Kevin Reece / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 5:45 PM

HOUSTON -- Dalton Sweeney, 17, endured his third surgery at Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center on Tuesday after a violent rollover vehicle crash. But his parents, who have been at his bedside since the May 1 accident, say they are thankful he is here at all.

“So we’re just thankful he’s here,” said his mom Sondra Sweeney. “I look at him, and I just watch him breathe and just thank God that my baby’s here.”

Dalton, who turned 17 in the hospital Sunday, was driving his pickup truck home Thursday night from a function at Hargrave High School in Huffman. He says he swerved to miss a deer in the road, lost control and his truck flipped three times. He was thrown out the driver side window and the truck rolled over him.

“He remembers being ejected on the second roll of the truck,” his mom said.

A friend was in the passenger seat. He wasn’t ejected from the truck and suffered only minor injuries. Dalton suffered a crushed pelvis, a dislocated hip, a broken leg, a shattered jaw, several broken ribs, a frontal brain bleed and other internal injuries.

“He remembers trying to scream and not being able to because of the blood in his mouth, his teeth were knocked out,” his mom said. “He was trying to pull himself up and try to get to his friend.”

His dad is a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy who was the third person to arrive at the crash.

“When I walked up on that scene he was face down in the dirt,” said Butch Sweeney. “I can wish that on no father for no reason whatsoever. Because all I could think of is that he was gone at that time. And that is something that I will never forget, never.”

Now the family is thankful for a massive outpouring of support from their small town, Huffman ISD where Sondra Sweeney works, and from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. High school friends immediately started raising money, and Dalton’s sisters have set up a GoFundMe site to help with what will be massive medical expenses. Their two-story home will likely need handicap access retrofitting for a recovery that may take as long as a year.

“He has a lot of support. A lot of people that love him and they’re going to be right there to stand beside him,” his mom said. “But that’s our baby,” she said of the 6’3”, 230 pound high school football player. “And we’ll never lose hope or faith.”

Dalton Sweeney’s release date from Memorial Hermann has not been determined. Multiple additional surgeries are likely including the operation scheduled next to repair his broken jaw.

“Just keep coming with the prayers,” said Sondra Sweeney. “He’s got a long hard road to recovery and luckily enough we’re on the first couple of steps to that. Long way to go, but everybody has been wonderful.”

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