It was just over two weeks ago when a Meridian boy was severely injured in a hit and run wreck. Now the child's family is speaking out.
"They left my brother for dead," said Antoinette Krstulovich, the older sister of 10-year-old Brandon Krstulovich, who was struck while riding his bicycle three blocks from his home July 20.
Family members say there's a good reason why it took them almost three hours to locate him.
On the night of the accident Brandon took his Dad's bike to ride instead of his own. Just prior to leaving his house, his Dad says he and Brandon had been mowing in the backyard. When they took a break he says Brandon asked to ride his bicycle but promised to be back home before dark. It was when Brandon didn't return that is father became concerned, but did not panic.
"After we found out that he wasn't at home, we thought he was at a friend's house. We were trying to find him. Locate him in a place that we knew he would be at and at the place we knew he would be there. He wasn't there," said Brandon's father, James C. Griffin.
"We didn't think to check the hospitals or anything. We didn't think anything was wrong with him," said Antoinette.
However, it was through a message left for Brandon's older brother on his MySpace page which finally alerted the family to what had happened.
"They e-mailed him saying that a boy who looked like Brandon was supposed to have been hit by a car. That was around 11 o'clock," said Antoinette.
"I believe it was the surgery that saved his life," said Griffin. "The doctor that operated on him at Jeff Anderson Hospital, you know, is really what saved his life."
Meanwhile, with Brandon still hospitalized in Jackson and facing about six weeks of rehabilitation there, his family members say they are just trying to cope.
"It's hard to forgive somebody for this thing, because he was very aware of what he did," said Griffin.
The suspect charged in the hit and run is 35-year-old Darryl Hampton, who turned himself in a week after the collision.
Because of mounting medical bills, a special fund has been established at any branch of Regions Bank in Meridian. For information, call 601-481-1004.