8-year-old expected to make full recovery after RTA bus crash

Eight-year old Eric Caldwell is out of the hospital and expected to make a full recovery after being critically injured in a bus crash involving multiple vehicles in March.

Caldwell and his brother, seven-year-old Emmanuel, were not wearing seat belts while riding in the back of a 1998 Cadillac Deville when it hit an RTA bus traveling northbound on Main St.

>>Alcohol, speed possible factors in RTA crash

Upon reentering the roadway, the bus collided with a minivan then down an embankment into the lot of an Auto Zone parking lot.

The boys’ uncle and driver of the Cadillac, 39-year-old David L. Gregory, and their father, 32-year old Eric E. Caldwell, were under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the accident, police said.

Both men are currently recovering in area hospitals and will likely face charges.

Eric’s uncle, Ryan Morgan, hopes their story will show others the dangers of driving while under the influence, and how it can be prevented.

>>PHOTOS: RTA bus, car collide; several people injured

“We want people to see this, the effects of driving and not strapping your children in,” Morgan said. “There are so many options available now to get home. Uber, family and friends, cabs, so many other options.”

Ten weeks after the accident, Eric has made significant progress, and is slowly getting back to normal. Doctors were unsure initially how he would fare after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

“He’s our little miracle baby, made tremendous progress. It really shows you what prayer can do. He’s talking and playing a lot more and we’re starting to see the old Eric come out,” Morgan said.

Doctors say Eric’s toughest challenge will be dealing with cognitive issues, but his family is certain he will work through them in time.

>>Two children in critical condition after vehicle hits RTA bus

“His biggest issue is new memories, everything from the crash on is shaky,” Morgan said. “His attention span is shorter but these are all things he can work on.”

Emmanuel has not been as fortunate, and may never make a meaningful recovery, doctors told the family. He is expected to need 24/7 care for the rest of his life and may never walk or talk again.

“That’s what the science says but we believe in prayer, we believe in miracles,” said Morgan. “That’s what we’re hoping for him.”

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