SALEM, N.H. — A 15-year-old Salem resident is recovering after colliding with a pickup truck while skateboarding.
Last Thursday, T.J. Goulet was driven to Lawrence by ambulance and airlifted to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Monday, the boy was in surgery for nine hours as doctors repaired his hip, family friend Ross Cooper said.
On one of the first sunny afternoons of the summer, T.J. was riding his skateboard down a hill on Sylvan Drive when he collided with a GMC pickup truck Thursday. The pickup truck was traveling east on Shadow Lake Road, at the end of Sylvan Drive. .
“As tragic as this is, it’s a really good life lesson for everyone involved,” Cooper said. “Nobody is going to do that again.”
Cooper’s son Brayden is one of T.J.’s best friends, they live in the same neighborhood and T.J. was at his home multiple nights last week for sleepovers before the accident happened, he said. Brayden was on a bike behind T.J. when the crash occurred.
“This is a good example to always look before you cross a road, which he didn’t do,” Brayden wrote in an Instagram post after the crash asking people to pray for T.J.. “He was on a skateboard traveling down Sylvan ... crossing Shadow Lake Road. He was going at an excessive speed and couldn’t stop… The truck had less than 10 feet to break (sic) before he hit him.”
Cooper reiterated the boys probably picked up speed as they went down the hill towards the intersection that has a fence and bushes obscuring it from the road.
“There’s no way a driver could have done something,” Cooper said.
His advice he would give his children and others who are out on bikes, skateboards and scooters: “Slow down, stop at intersections and look both ways. You can’t assume drivers are looking out for you.”
The driver of the car, Steven Barry, 56, of Salem, recalled the child coming out of nowhere to hit his car.
“He came out of nowhere and hit my windshield,” Barry said in a phone call to The Eagle-Tribune.
After the crash Barry was charged with driving under the influence.
Barry admitted his blood alcohol content (BAC) test at the scene showed a 0.086 BAC, which is above the legal limit for drivers in New Hampshire of 0.08 BAC.
“I had a bottle cap too much beer,” Barry said.
Deputy Chief Joel Dolan said that Barry refused testing once at the station, which is the more formal testing, he explained. Dolan also confirmed there were multiple witnesses to the crash, but wouldn’t comment further on the ongoing investigation.
Since the crash more than 500 people have shared a Go Fund Me to help T.J.’s family with medical bills and other costs associated with recovering. They have raised $4,685 as of Monday. Cooper, who created the page, is hoping that the community will rally behind T.J. and his family. T.J. is one of six adopted children in his family, and his parents have been with him at the hospital since the accident, Cooper said. He is worried about lost wages for T.J.’s parents, miscellaneous costs adding up, and the overall expense of the medical bills.
“Every little bit counts,” Cooper said. “Their bills are going to be astronomical.”
The Go Fund Me can be found at bit.ly/2KQJJNF.