Teen defies odds after being paralyzed in crash blamed on police
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) – Dayten Gouveia was paralyzed from the neck down in a car crash blamed on police officers in September. Now, he’s starting to walk again.
The 15-year-old doesn’t remember anything about the crash, but does remember that he went to a party that day, according to KHNL.
Officers with the Honolulu Police Department were called to break up the party, and Gouveia caught a ride home with family friends.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital. Doctors told him he was paralyzed from the neck down.
“I just thought my life was going be done,” Gouveia said.
Doctors compared his injury the one actor Christopher Reeve had, according to the teen’s mother, Ualani Waialae.
“I cannot even express the hurt I had for him, knowing that he loves sports,” Waialae said. “He is my baby.”
Gouveia had multiple surgeries on his neck and face.
Weeks after the crash, he surprised his mom when he moved his hand to try to grab hers. Not long after that, he was able to move his feet.
“In the beginning was super hard,” Gouveia said.
Physical therapy pushed him, and on Dec. 1, he was able to walk out of the rehabilitation hospital.
His older sister, Dennisey Gouveia, said his determination and positive attitude helped him improve so quickly.
“He’s always the most happy in our family. He makes us happy,” she said.
The Gouveia family is suing the police and the city, saying three officers caused the crash and then left the scene without rendering aid.
Surveillance videos from nearby businesses show an unmarked SUV right behind the car Gouveia and several others were in. Two marked patrol cars are seen on the videos seconds later.
None of the cars have their emergency lights activated.
Honolulu Police’s tracking data shows the officers were going about 100 mph during the chase, according to sources.
Witnesses also said the three police cars continued on, passing the crash site, leaving Gouveia and the 30-year-old driver critically injured in a field.
Several other teens were seriously hurt, too.
Despite the accusations, Gouveia’s family said they are focusing on his treatment, and his mother said she forgives the officers accused.
“I have no anger against them for any of this. I hurt mostly for the officers’ families,” Waialae said.
Her son, meanwhile, has a new goal in his recovery: To run again in the next three to four months.
In one year, he said he wants to be back at the boxing gym, punching the bag.
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