London

Mother says Tristan Roby, 18, suffered life-altering injuries in hit-and-run collision

The mother of a London teen who was struck in a hit-and-run collision while riding his bike Sunday night says her son remains in intensive care after suffering life-altering injuries, including severe head trauma.

Son suffered severe head trauma after he was hit while cycling on Exeter Road

Tristan Roby, 18 suffered severe brain trauma in Sunday's hit-and-run collision. He's also recovering from a broken jaw and leg. (Tino Casavecchia/Facebook)

The mother of a London teen who was struck in a hit-and-run collision while riding his bike Sunday night says her son remains in intensive care after suffering life-altering injuries, including severe head trauma. 

"He's going to have a lot of physio, he's going to have to re-learn things," said Abby Roby Wednesday. "As a mother, I know who my boy was before this happened, so I'm going to be meeting someone different perhaps. And it's scary." 

Tristan Roby had plans to study anthropology after finishing high school. (Submitted by Abby Roby)

Abby's son Tristan turned 18 on Wednesday. It's a birthday he won't remember. He remains in a coma in the pediatric trauma unit at Victoria Hospital where he's being treated for multiple injuries, including a broken left leg, badly bruised lungs and a jaw broken in two places. 

Tristan and a friend were riding westbound on Exeter Road at about 11 p.m. Sunday when Tristan's bike was struck by a vehicle travelling in the same direction. The impact threw Tristan 10 metres into the air. His friend, who was not hurt, called 911 immediately. 

Tristan was rushed to hospital, and his mother received a phone call no parent wants to hear. 

"We don't know when he's going to wake up," Abby Roby said Wednesday. Doctors are waiting to set Tristan's broken jaw, opting to hold off for now until pressure in his brain subsides. 

"That pressure has to stay low or it will cause more brain damage," she said. "They'll do that surgery when they feel it's safest for him." 

'Just turn yourself in'

Police say two people were in the vehicle that struck Tristan. After the collision, the vehicle pulled into a parking lot on Wharncliffe Road. A citizen was able to stop the passenger from fleeing but the driver left the scene.  

On Wednesday, Roby called on the driver to surrender to police. 

"You know, we all make mistakes, and unfortunately this mistake changed someone's life forever," she said. "But you have to come forward and you have to purge yourself of this. You won't be able to live with this. Just turn yourself in." 

Tristan's uncle Tino Casavecchia made a similar plea in a Facebook post on Tuesday. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday his post had 6,300 shares and 1,400 comments, most from well-wishers.

Abby Roby's son Tristan, 18, suffered life-altering injuries after he was struck by a car while riding his bike on Exeter Road on Sunday, July 21. She's calling on the driver, who left the scene, to come forward and surrender to police. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

"I ask all of my Facebook friends to share this in the hope that someone who was in the car or a witness can see this and realize the consequences," wrote Casavecchia. "Perhaps even the person who hit him will see this and grow a conscience."

Roby said her son is a fun-loving, teen who adores animals and had planned to study anthropology after finishing high school. He was working on getting his driver's licence.

"He's always the kid that would leave his friends to go sit with someone who was by themselves," she said. "He's just a caring, caring soul." 

Roby draws two conclusions from the collision that injured her son: Drivers need to be more aware of cyclists, and London needs more bike lanes to make cycling safer. 

"London drivers are notorious for not being very patient," she said. "Cyclists and motorcyclists are hard to see and you have to double check before you turn or go anywhere." 

For now, Roby says family members plan to remain at Tristan's bedside and do what they can to prepare for the difficult recovery that lies ahead. 

Meanwhile, police are asking anyone with information about the collision to call them at (519) 661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). 

Tristan Roby had his 18th birthday in an intensive care ward at Victoria Hospital Wednesday, where he's in a coma after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Exeter Road. (Submitted by Abby Roby)

About the Author

Andrew Lupton is a B.C.-born journalist, father of two and a north London resident with a passion for politics, photography and baseball.