‘We’re just so fortunate that he’s still with us’: Parents of LRT crash victim speak out

A 16-year-old remains in hospital after a collision with an LRT train in front of a Kitchener high school.

The family spoke to CTV News Kitchener on Saturday for the first time about the ordeal and their son’s path ahead.

At around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, as students left Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener, a teen was struck and trapped underneath an LRT train.

Melissa Irwin says her 16-year-old son Keelan Zondervan is now off life support and recovering at Hamilton General Hospital following the crash but still has a long road ahead of him.

“He’s still in so much pain,” said Irwin. “We’re just so fortunate that he’s still with us. He can give you the thumbs up and let you know if he’s in pain. Speaking is very, very rare for him right now, mostly because he’s constantly sleeping and trying to heal.”

Firefighters lifted the train to extricate Keelan before he was airlifted to hospital with what officials described as life-threatening injuries.

“I couldn’t have asked for better people to be taking care of my son,” said Irwin.

Irwin describes the moments after the crash as a blur.

“I’m not even 100 per cent sure how I got there. I know I drove, but I was more in shock than anything.”

Irwin says she and her husband are now taking extended time off work to care for their son and have launched a fundraiser to help.

“There’s been such an amazing outpour of support from people that we don’t necessarily even know, but we will be forever in their debt,” she said. “Our lives are just filled with amazing people right now. I mean, the hospital staff everybody has been beyond amazing to us.”

Irwin says their family is thankful for the support and hopeful for their son’s future.

“We just tell him how strong he is and how brave he is and, you know, how lucky he is.”

Waterloo Regional Police says there is no update in the ongoing investigation. Police stress supports are available to those who witnessed the crash.

Cameron Heights cancelled tests and exams while also offering supports in the aftermath of Wednesday’s crash.

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