THE family of a man seriously injured when he was struck in the head by a rock while driving have been keeping a bedside vigil in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, while friends desperately work to raise money to support him.
Patrick Garrett, 29, and his father, Steve, were heading east along Guyra-Ebor Rd towards their home in Guyra about 4pm on November 1 after finishing work.
At the same time, New England police and highway patrol officers were chasing an allegedly stolen white Holden Commodore west on Guyra-Ebor Rd.
Police allege the occupants of the vehicle, four men and a woman from Queensland, threw rocks at oncoming traffic in a bid to force the chasing cars to cease pursuit.
One of the rocks, allegedly thrown by 19-year-old Jade Amber Mocsay, penetrated Mr Garrett’s side of the windscreen and struck him on the head, knocking him unconscious and forcing his father to bring the vehicle under control.
Mr Garrett was taken to Armidale hospital in a critical condition before being flown
to the John Hunter Hospital where he underwent nine hours of emergency brain surgery. He was in a critical condition for more than four days before being brought out of a medically-induced coma last Thursday, and has now been moved from the intensive care unit into the head trauma unit.
Yesterday his condition was reported as stable .
Mr Garrett’s parents, Steve and Cheryl, have been by his bedside for the past 13 days, taking time off work at their family contract painting business to support their son.
They have been joined by their four other children.
“He’s the baby of the family,” Steve Garrett said.
“He’s just so easy-going.
“We’ve worked together ever since he left school and that’s every day for the last 12 years.
“We’ve always looked after each other.”
Mrs Garrett said they had been interacting with their son as his condition improved.
“At the moment they’re more worried about his short-term memory and his eyesight,” she said.
Friends and members of the Rotary Club of Guyra have started the Facebook page “I Support Patrick ‘patty’ Garrett”, which has attracted more than 290 “likes”, and have begun raising funds
to support Mr Garrett and his family.
Steve Garrett said the family was “overwhelmed” by the support from the Guyra community.
He also praised the work of police, ambulance and hospital staff during the difficult period.
The alleged offenders were arrested shortly after the incident when their vehicle crashed into a police patrol car on Wollombi-Wongwibinda Rd.
Officers charged alleged driver Aaron Robert Dare, 27, with grievous bodily harm to a person with intent, using an offensive weapon in company to prevent detention, driving dangerously and failing to stop when pursued by police.
Anthony James Glover, Robert Joseph Jackson and Kelvin Mark Muckan, all 21 or 22, and Ms Mocsay, were charged with the same, bar driving dangerously.
All five were refused bail to appear in Armidale Local Court on November 21.