ATKINSON — His body is weak and he can't speak, but Chris DePietro has been given a second chance.
After lying in a coma for weeks at a Boston hospital, the 16-year-old Timberlane Regional High School student was released last week and is slowly recuperating from injuries suffered in a car accident Sept. 10.
But a police officer who responded to the crash and the Atkinson teen's mother, Ruthann DePietro, said he is lucky to be alive.
"It was really bad," Ruthann DePietro said. "He should have died three times in all of this."
Chris is working to regain his strength at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem. He tires easily and has a long road to recovery, but is slowly improving, his mother said.
"He is progressing very well," she said. "He is a strong-willed individual and he wants to get better. It's a miracle."
Atkinson police Lt. William Baldwin agrees. Baldwin doesn't hesitate to say that if it were not for the quick work of a Trinity Ambulance crew, Chris wouldn't be celebrating his 17th birthday on Wednesday.
"That's the reason that kid is still alive," Baldwin said. "They deserve kudos."
Both Baldwin and DePietro said they have been told most people would not have survived such a serious accident.
The Timberlane junior had just returned from a doctor's appointment and was heading to a football game about 5 p.m. that Friday when the BMW convertible he was driving went out of control and slammed into a tree on Maple Avenue near the family's home.
Rescue workers had to use a hydraulic device to remove the driver's side door and pull the teen from the smashed car. He was rushed by ambulance to Lawrence General Hospital and later flown by helicopter to Boston Medical Center, where he remained until last week.