Teen back home after being hit by truck

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By Nick Schrager

By Jeff Moreland

Editor/General Manager

He’s home now and on the mend, but this time last week, Thomas Riney was hospitalized following an accident at his home.

Riney, 16, was lying in the sun at the family’s home shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, July 14, when he was accidentally struck by a truck driven by his father, Billy Riney.

“I pulled in the driveway. There’s a blind spot in the lane, and Thomas was in the corner and I didn’t see him,” Billy said. “The truck wheel hit him, and it slid him about 25 feet. I didn’t run over him, just up on him. I backed off and I could see his blonde hair, and nothing else but blood. I grabbed him and drove him to Lebanon.”

After arriving in Lebanon, emergency staff at Spring View Hospital quickly decided that Thomas needed to be transported to another hospital. He was airlifted from Lebanon to the University of Louisville Hospital.

Thomas spent the next 30 hours in the hospital’s trauma unit. Billy said doctors kept the family posted on his condition, but it seemed something else was wrong each time the doctors came in for an update.

“Every four hours they came in to tell us how he was doing, and every four hours, something else was wrong,” he said. “First it was his skin, then he had a collapsed lung, then his liver was damaged and bleeding. Every hour they took blood samples to decide something before operating.”

Doctors determined on Tuesday that Thomas was suffering from three broken ribs. On Wednesday he was moved to the intensive care unit. Later he was transferred to the hospital’s burn unit where the second and third degree burns he received by being drug under the vehicle. Fortunately, he did not have to undergo surgery.

“They kept us in suspense on operating until Thursday morning. They gave him water and he could eat. He had improved a bunch, and they couldn’t believe how much better he looked,” Billy said.

The next step for Thomas is treatment for his burns, which Billy said doctors called road rash.

“They put him in a whirlpool and shower. They used a liquid that is supposed to help him heal quicker,” Billy said. “Then on Friday night they decided to let him come home.”

Thomas is doing better, but he will return to the University of Louisville Hospital for treatments each Tuesday over the next four to six weeks, according to Billy.

The accident is especially traumatic for the family because of another recent accident involving Thomas’ cousin, Justin Hatchett. Justin remains hospitalized after a June 18 tractor accident. The boys’ grandmothers are sisters, according to Billy.

Thomas will be entering his junior year at Bethlehem High School soon, and with work to be done for some of his advanced classes, he was supposed to be reading books. Instead, he’s listening to the books on his iPod, according to Billy. He’s also having visitors, which makes him feel a lot better.

“He’s walking a little bit and kidding with people. He likes company, and he’s had a lot of preachers and priests come by,” Billy said. “ A lot of kids have visited. It’s been great for him. Anyone who wants to visit him is welcome.”