Two Jamaica teens recovering well from truck crash

DANVILLE – Jamaica High School student Derek Darr, 18, was listed in good condition late Friday afternoon and basketball teammate Joseph Anthony Horner, 18, returned home this week after being critically injured in a car accident Jan. 10.

Darr, 18, of rural Fairmount, and Horner, 18, of Sidell, were returning to school from an internship at Koehn Motors Inc. when the pickup truck Darr was driving broadsided a grain truck at the intersection of 850 North 800 East Road. The driver of the grain truck was not injured.

"I couldn't believe it when I came upon it," said Darr's mother, Linda, who had rushed out to the accident when she heard the news. "I knew it was bad when I saw all of the cars."

This week has been easier, she said. The family expected Darr to be released Friday.

"I felt relieved when he was in rehab," said Darr's mother, Linda, of her son's recovery. "The last three days I kind of felt better seeing how well he's doing now."

It took rescue workers, some of whom were classmates, 45 minutes to remove Darr from his truck. He suffered a cracked skull and cuts to his face. He was released on Friday but will return to the hospital on Tuesday for surgery on his head and face, Linda Darr said.

Horner had a "really bad concussion", burns to his left arm, a cut above his left eye and bruising from the seat belt on his left side, said his mother, Marlena Holden.

Darr and Horner have been at Carle Foundation Hospital since the accident. Horner returned home on Monday.

"We just take it one day at a time," Holden said. "The Lord is really doing a wonderful miracle in his life with the healing."

Both moms said their sons' active lifestyles helped with their recovery. Community support, prayers and regular visits from friends have helped too, they said.

"The community was awesome," Holden said.

Darr has been "doing excellent" in rehabilitation and has recovered well, except for some headaches, Linda Darr said.

Horner has suffered a temporary short-term memory loss, but "that will heal when the concussion heals itself," Holden said.

Neither mom expects her son to return to school soon.

Linda Darr, estimating that it will be at least three weeks before her son returns to school, said her son will have a tutor; Holden said she's looking into an at-home school program for Horner in the meantime.

Doctors have said that concussion patients often tire easily, Holden said.

"If he can do something at home, it won't make him feel overwhelmed," Holden said. "He'd love to go back to school; he's a pretty active boy."

In the meantime, however, he has to momentarily resign his skateboarding hobby.

"He gets to enjoy quality time with his mom," Holden said.

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