In the second it took to be thrown from a moving car Jordan Harrington-Dingley went from being an active skateboarder to losing the use of his legs.
The 20-year-old Hawke's Bay man was a passenger in a car that crashed on Arlington Rd, south of Waipukurau, last month. It's understood the driver, a 22-year-old man from Waipukurau, lost control and veered into a ditch after one of the car's tyres blew.
Jordan was thrown out of the car, breaking his breastbone and four bones in his neck.
His mother, Megan Dingley told Hawke's Bay Today her son had been in Christchurch Hospital since the accident, requiring specialist care for his injuries, which also include bruised lungs and a haematoma next to his heart.
"We can't actually function as a family as such at the moment," she said.
Jordan had met the driver of the car only that night.
"He wasn't a friend as such, just sort of a new acquaintance." Mrs Dingley said doctors hoped a decrease in swelling around his spinal cord might result in him regaining limited use of his arms in future years.
His parents make regular visits to his bedside, but his two siblings have not been able to see him since his move from Hawke's Bay Hospital.
"He was full of life, a bit of a hood but a lovable kid underneath," Mrs Dingley said.
"He used to spend a lot of time outside on his skateboard, running up Sugar Loaf Hill - a very physical and outdoorsy sort of boy."
The extent of Jordan's injuries had resulted in not only emotional stress for his family, but also financial stress.
"I was just trying to start a little business at home that's had to go on hold and his dad's had to take a heap of time off work.
"I sort of fly home for a day, maybe two if I'm lucky each week. Just to have some time out, then I'm always with Jordan."
When he is more stable he will be moved to Burwood Hospital, where he will begin rehabilitation, including learning how to cope with an attempt to rehabilitate his disabled legs.
The driver of the car, who escaped with minor injuries, has been charged and will appear in Waipukurau District Court next week. Despite feeling angry about her son's predicament, Mrs Dingley said "one life fully ruined is enough".
"There was another boy involved that owned the car ... I just want them to learn their lesson, sadly at the cost of Jordan."
Her best friend, Katrina Pokata, and Jordan's sister, Ashleigh Harrington-Dingley, have started a Givealittle page. To donate go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/supportforjordanharringtomsfamily
For more articles from this region, go to Hawkes Bay Today