KEIZER, Ore. (KOIN) — Jane Titchenal knew something was wrong when her son wasn’t answering his phone and saw his bike missing at home.
Titchenal, 28, went to look for her son and saw police lights on the intersection of Lockhaven Drive Northeast and Klicitat Drive Northeast in Keizer, a town outside of Salem.
“I just kind of knew Kenny was a part of that,” said Titchenal.
Her son, 11-year-old Kenny Titchenal, was riding his bike when a car hit him on his way home around 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15. The child was later taken to the hospital with a punctured lung, a partially fractured vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade, broken teeth and internal bleeding.
His mother said he is only alive because he was wearing a helmet.
“A family friend spoke out because she noticed that he needed to be wearing his helmet and was diligent in reminding him to do that,” recalled Titchenal. “At the end of the day, it’s important as community members to be reminding others of bike safety.”
She added that it’s important to keep this message in mind as the days get shorter with limited sunlight.
Lt. Trevor Wenning, a spokesperson for the Keizer Police Department, suggests for bikers to wear reflective clothing, pendant lights, to avoid earbuds and be aware of your surroundings.
According to KPD, a traffic team is still investigating the crash but confirmed that the driver stayed on scene and cooperated with authorities.
Titchenal said her son is now recovering at home and will be healing for the next couple of months. The 11-year-old will have physical therapy and multiple follow-up visits with doctors.
With the accident behind them, the Keizer Police Association also gifted Kenny a new bike to look forward to.
Titchenal said she’s grateful for the community’s support as a single parent.
“It was overwhelming to see the amount of love and support for Kenny. I was a teen mom, and I grew up in this community,” she said. “Kenny and I have always been OK. We’ve always made it. We’ve always figured it out. Our community has always rallied around us to make sure that we have everything that we need.”
Titchenal’s close friends and family created a GoFundMe to help with her son’s hospital bills.
People can also follow along with Kenny’s recovery process here.