December 3, 2022

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automotive

Police searching for vehicle that hit, hospitalized disabled veteran in Harrisburg

Sasha Winters was terrified when she learned her father, a disabled Vietnam veteran, was in the hospital.

On the morning of May 5, she said her dad Darryl Simpson was hit by a car while he was driving his mobility scooter home.

At first, he thought he was OK, and while a neighbor called 911 he brushed off any need for emergency treatment.

Simpson was riding his scooter south on 3rd Street, on the east side of the street. As he approached Woodbine Street, he needed to cross.

A vehicle going east on Woodbine Street hit Simpson in the crosswalk and, so far, police have been unable to locate the driver.

Winters said it has always been a fear of hers that something would happen to her 69-year-old father because as careful as he is, there’s always a possibility for something to go wrong.

“It’s not always what you do, but what other people do,” Winters said.

Simpson told her that when he was hit, he was thrown a short distance before he hit the ground. He told her he put up his arm to protect his face and head but still landed on his mouth, chipping a tooth.

He told Winters afterward he thought he just had scrapes and bruises. “I don’t think he thought he was that hurt,” Winters said.

It was when he noticed his left arm start to swell that he got back on his damaged scooter and drove himself to the emergency room. Although Winters said the front end of the scooter is cracked, it is mostly cosmetic damage.

Winters remembers telling him she was glad that he survived, but what if he was concussed? Or had internal bleeding?

Despite Simpson landing partially on his face, it wasn’t head injuries that are keeping him hospitalized.

Winters said her father has suffered two fractures in his right leg in the crash, which is the same leg he injured when he was a combat medic in the Army. He also suffered three fractures to his left arm, which have so far caused the most difficulty for him.

He couldn’t use the arm, which is his dominant arm, so he couldn’t use his cell phone to try to contact family members immediately after the crash. All of his efforts didn’t seem to work, which was compounded by the fact that he was in significant pain and “out of it” from the crash.

It was around 8:30 the next morning that Winters learned what happened. And nearly a week later, her family is trying to figure out what comes next for Simpson.

He used to be out and about nearly every day, Winters said, with the scooter being his main source of transportation. It was how he got to his doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or to any social plans.

Simpson used to have a blue scooter, which meant Winters would get reports from friends and other people who would see him around town pinpointing the hue of his scooter.

Now, it could be up to a year before he’s back to that version of himself, which was still a man working through his disabilities.

Winters said the fact the fractures are on different sides of his body complicates the healing process. He relied heavily on the now broken arm to get himself around, whether it was balancing weight while he walked or operating his scooter.

Simpson will be in the hospital until his fractures are healed enough that he can go to rehab. Once he’s able to put weight on his arm and leg, he’ll still need in-home care while he continues physical therapy and recovery.

“He’s not going to be able to get around as efficiently as he did before,” Winters said. “We’re talking about eight months to a year before life is back to ‘normal.’”

While hospitalized, Simpson is seeing a physical therapist every day and an orthopedist a few times a week.

“He’s actually in pretty decent spirits for the situation,” Winters said. Simpson understands that this will be a long process. She knows he’s worried about what will happen to his apartment and other day-to-day things that he now won’t be around for the foreseeable future.

“I just keep reminding him, ‘we’re focused on you being healthy,’” Winters said. Various family members are calling him at least once a day, and she tries to see him a couple of times a week. She knows that it can be isolating in the hospital.

Her real concern is who hit her father and then left without acknowledging their role in the crash.

Very little information is available, with police saying there were not many cameras in the area of the crash.

The suspect vehicle is described as being a green Ford Escape, with a PA tag including the number 61, according to police.

Winters said she just wants the driver to take responsibility for his or her actions. Now that there is added pressure from medical expenses, Simpson’s family believes they deserve to know who caused this.

Anyone with information or footage from around the crash scene can contact Harrisburg police at 717-558-6900.

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