Nick Tusant, 16, a West Valley High School student, slowly recovering from a severe brain trauma and other injuries suffered in a auto-pedestrian accident March 24, was surprised Tuesday, July 11, when his parents loaded his wheelchair into their newer Ford MAX Hybrid car at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
The shiny 2013 completely refurbished Ford hatchback was a badly needed gift to Nick and his parents, Jessica and Richard Tusant, from Hemet Gosch Auto Group employees and owner, Eric Gosch. For months since the near fatal accident in a crosswalk on Mustang Way near Morgan Hill, Nick’s parents have used their aging 2000 Saturn to drive back and forth to Loma Linda University Medical Center to make sure Nick could get to specialists treating his severe injuries. When their car began to overheat and break down, the family appealed through Facebook and other media for help finding a car.
Marketing Director Graham Scott and General Manager Israel Mora with other Gosch Auto Group employees saw their plight.
After reading the Tusants’ story on Facebook, Scott said, “Some stories you read you just go, ‘Wow!’ … His story almost brought me to tears.”
Nick Tusant was attempting to cross Mustang Way near the high school, March 24, when the driver of a large Dodge Dakota apparently did not see him. Nick was thrown into the air on impact and landed on the street, crushing part of his skull and breaking other bones and causing internal injuries. His injuries were so severe that he was sent on a Life Flight to the Riverside Trauma Center and later to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. For almost three weeks, he lay in a coma, barely hanging on to life, with his worried parents often at this bedside.
Prayers from many churches in the Hemet San Jacinto Valley went out to him after the accident. On Easter Sunday, April 16, he suddenly woke up, his parents said. His recovery since then has been slow; his parents have made many trips with him back and forth from the hospital to specialists in the San Bernardino area.
Their older vehicle began to develop mechanical problems they could not afford to fix. Their urgent call for someone to help find a ride or to acquire a car that could accommodate Nick’s wheelchair appeared on the Tusants Facebook page and on a GoFundMe account.
That’s when the Gosch Auto Group began looking for “just the right car” for the family. It took a while to find one was economical, had room for his wheelchair and would be entirely reliable. The 2013 Ford Max Hybrid was found in the group’s used car inventory, and the mechanics in the shop went to work on it.
“We made sure it was in tip top shape,” Scott said.
“You don’t often get the opportunity to help someone,” Mora said, handing the car keys to Jessica and Richard Tusant, July 11, with many Gosch Auto Group employees looking on, cheering for them.
Eric Gosch, an owner of the Gosch Auto Group, was on hand for the key presentation to the family.
“We are so glad to help,” Gosch said. ‘We found right car for them.”
Looking around at his staff and employees, Gosch said, “All these people said, ‘we are going to do something,’ so I said ‘OK.’”
The car, license and registration were signed over to the Tusant family completely free of charge.
“We want to thank you all very much,” Jessica Tusant said to the employees just before the car was signed over to them. “Gosch Auto Group has been a blessing for us.”
She and Richard Tusant were excited to say they were going to drive the car to Loma Linda and Fontana that same afternoon to pick up Nick for a doctor’s appointment.
“We will take him out today, just as long as it’s under 100 degrees. …You know he took about 50 steps yesterday,” she said with a smile.
“The community has been really great,” she continued, asking for the community’s continued prayers and outpourings to help Nick.
“He’s doing amazing,” Richard said, adding that Nick has been talking, playing games and watching TV with them. “We know he is coming home soon. He just wants to come home.”
Gosch said the auto group will be making a video for the family to help them out even more with their mounting medical expenses and cost for his lengthy rehabilitation.
Those wishing to help Nick and his family can visit www.gofundme.com/nick-tusant-medical-fund. Candy Murray, on behalf of her friend Jessica, started the GoFundMe account that has raised nearly $10,000. His story can also be seen on YouTube under the “Nick Tusant story.” The video was filmed by the Gosch Auto Group to help the family.