Grant Virgin homecoming

Teen hit by a driver who fled back in September 2012

Rich Tarpening, Assignment Manager, Rich.Tarpening@kesq.com
Greg Lee, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter & Sports Anchor, glee@kesq.com
POSTED: 12:13 PM PST Jan 30, 2013    UPDATED: 01:25 AM PST Jan 05, 2013 
PALM DESERT -

A Palm Desert family is celebrating what they are calling a miracle tonight.  Sixteen year-old Palm Desert high school student Grant Virgin is back home nearly four months after being left for dead by a hit-and-run driver in September.
       Balloons and 'welcome home' signs greeted him, his younger brother and his dad at their home in Palm Desert. Grant almost lost his life in a hit-and-run crash.  A woman struck him with her car as he walked to a friend's house.  He suffered major brain damage, broken bones, and a torn aorta. This marks a huge step in his recovery. "I'm pretty good actually," said Grant.  "I'm happy now, I can go and walk, it's good."

Grant spent the afternoon walking using his walker, petting his dog, and joking with his brother. He asked several times while in the hospital just to return home.  "Work, just tried to go home, just tried to go home," said Grant.   "Work as hard as you can, do whatever you can."

While Grant's recovery surprised many of his doctors, his younger brother, Bryce, expected it. "The statistics, they're based on normal people," said Bryce. "Grant's not normal people, if the statistics were based on Grant, things would look a lot different."

Grant may be extraordinary, but it doesn't mean the last few months haven't been extremely difficult and emotional for his family, especially his father.
"Knowing that that was him on the street, and watching him walk through the front door, those are the two ends of the spectrum for me in my lifetime," said John Virgin.

The family made a stop before driving home on Friday.  They visited the staff at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center-- the people who saved Grant's life. "They did a good job," said Grant.  "I talked to them and they're all happy.  They did a good job with everything."
"There was not a dry eye in the place, those folks are so dedicated and work so hard and so often for not a positive outcome," said John.

But again, Grant's the exception. That's why everyone is optimistic about the next step of this process. He'll continue to undergo therapy and work towards a full physical and mental recovery. "Pages in front of him are unwritten, we don't know how they're going to turn out,  but we've got a pretty good background in pushing and trying," said John. "Nobody in this group quits."

The family says the next 18 months are extremely crucial in his therapy.  In the meantime though, Mr. Virgin says, seeing his boys back together in Grant's room, is the best start to the year, ever. "What more could you ask for, if I never got anything else for the rest of my life, that one fills it all."

No arrests have been made in the case.  Police are still searching for the woman who fled the scene.