A GUYRA man hit in the head by a rock as he drove home with his dad can’t remember the two weeks of his life following that serious incident three weeks ago.
Patrick “Patty” Garrett is now recuperating in Tamworth hospital, after receiving emergency brain surgery and spending nearly two weeks in a medically induced coma at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital.
The 29-year-old remains in good spirits, despite his life-threatening ordeal.
Surrounded by his family and friends, he is now piecing his life back together.
On November 1, Patrick was the victim of what has been called a “senseless attack” when a rock was thrown from a car with five people in it that was involved in a police pursuit. Patrick was driving with his dad along Guyra-Ebor Rd.
Patrick said they had simply been in the wrong spot at the wrong time, after heading home from a job organised by his parents’ paint contracting business.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” he said.
His father, Stephen, described the moment the rock “exploded” through their windscreen as it smashed the glass and ricocheted around the vehicle before leaving through the back window – smashing it, too.
During the incident, the rock bounced off the steering wheel, straight into his son’s face.
Stephen managed to steer the car to the side of the road, as his son was knocked unconscious and had begun bleeding uncontrollably.
“I tried to stop the bleeding with an old work shirt before police arrived,” he said.
More police kept on the tail of the pursued car, believed to be stolen, before arresting the five people from Queensland shortly after.
Meanwhile, Patrick was flown to Newcastle in a critical condition.
He underwent life-saving surgery, which included removing several pieces of bone fragment from his brain.
Stephen, with Patrick’s mother, Cheryl, stayed by their son’s bedside as his condition improved.
Patrick was brought to Tamworth last Friday, a welcome move by his family, who appreciate the quiet and calm of the country.
Patrick now begins his long recovery, which will involve some physiotherapy during the coming weeks. “All I want to do is see my dogs, they’ll be missing me ... and I want to be a lot better in time for Christmas,” he said.
He continues to experience some problems with his eye, injured in the accident, and short-term memory loss. He said his arrival to the city was the first thing he could remember since the moments before the accident.
An appeal has been set up for the family and has already managed to raise more than $10,000.
Family friend and fellow tradie Teesh Wright is just one of the local community members giving her time to the Garrett family’s appeal, donations for which can be made at New England Mutual. Ms Wright said they had organised a couple of events in the coming months, including a pattycake drive for their friend, Patty, and a cycling event, which would involve some of the police responsible for saving his life.
“The Guyra trade community is very tight and we will continue to support this extraordinary family,” she said.
The alleged offenders of the car pursuit, all in their early 20s, have since been refused bail and will next appear before Armidale Local Court on January 23. The family doesn’t know if they will attend any of their future court cases.