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Please Keep Family in Your Prayers

Ten days ago, a 16 year-old boy from Palm Desert High School was hit while crossing the street near his home (near our home) by a hit-and-run driver. Please keep this family in your prayers. Here is the story:

"More than a week after 16-year-old Grant Virgin was critically injured, Palm Desert police have fielded only three tips about the hit-and-run crash. None of the tips have panned out so far.

The Palm Desert High School junior was walking toward a friend’s house when he was struck about 7:35 p.m. Sept. 10 at Deep Canyon Road and Fred Waring Drive in Palm Desert.

Several witnesses saw the driver get out of her car, survey the damage to her car and look at the boy lying in the road, Capt. Kevin Vest said. She then drove away. Other drivers called 911, blocked off the road and tried to help the teen.

Minutes later, John Virgin and his younger son happened to drive by. They were speaking with deputies on the scene about the commotion and the unidentified teen victim. Then the EMT pointed to Bryce and said the injured pedestrian looked like him.

"The English language doesn't have a word for it," John Virgin said. "I have never been hit by a truck. I'd rather have been hit by a truck."

Grant was flown by helicopter to Desert Regional Medical Center late Monday with life-threatening injuries. He was then flown overnight to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he remains hospitalized.

Chances are high that hit-and-run drivers in a case like this will get away, police told us — unless someone can lead investigators to the car.

How Grant is Doing

The crash caused devastating injuries to Grant, breaking bones from his skull to his heel and crushing his aorta. Only 10 percent of people with his kind of aorta damage survive the initial injury. Even fewer live past the ride to the hospital. Fewer yet survive the transfer to another hospital.

Chances were slim to none that Grant would survive the airlift to the Los Angeles hospital he needed.

Grant’s younger brother did the math in his head, then looked the doctors in the eyes.

“That leaves 1.5 percent,” 15-year-old Bryce said. “We’ll take that.”
Grant remains hospitalized at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Surgeons have “painted a bleak picture,” his father said. Grant was admitted to the hospital with “the lowest possible coma score” and has been mostly unresponsive.

“He has the benefits of being young for the brain injury, and that’s a good thing, and he has the benefits of being just tougher than nails,” Virgin said. “But every step of the way has been a miracle.”

While doctors work to relieve the pressure on his brain, they keep him under heavy sedation.

Grant has opened his eyes once, flicked his toes when his father touched them and — when his mother whispered his girlfriend’s name into his ear — clutched his mother’s hand to his chest.

"Prayers are powerful medicine,” his father said. “Every single day is going to require more miracles.”

Doctors began easing the sedation Tuesday, hoping Grant will wake up in the next few days so they can reevaluate the injuries to his brain.

“Grant is trying to open his eyes. He will open them a sliver when you ask him,” his mom, JJ Virgin, wrote on her Facebook page this morning. She has been detailing his progress.

His parents have been overwhelmed by emails, Facebook messages, text messages and Tweets. Both say they regret they haven’t been able to respond to everyone, but are blown away by the support.

“Were it under different circumstances, I don’t know if I could handle the heartwarming,” his father, John, told me.

When I met with Grant’s dad last week, I asked what his family needs: “Prayer,” John said. “Prayers are powerful medicine."

The driver, her vehicle:

Because of the time and location of the crash, Vest said the driver who hit Grant likely lives and works in the Coachella Valley.

Witnesses described her as a Hispanic woman, about 30 years old. She was about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed about 150 pounds. She had black, shoulder-length hair.

The vehicle was a two-door, white car made in the early 2000s.

Palm Desert police ask anyone who knows anything about the crash, or has seen a similar vehicle with front-end damage, to call investigators at (760) 836-1000.

Comments (3)


It is an honor to pray for this young man and his family. At times like this, God does hear every word. May the family continue to feel the love and comfort from all our prayers.....

Cathy Butero:

Thanks for posting the unimaginable tragedy surrounding the Virgin family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them!

Barb Cabot:

I can't understand a person that could leave a scene like this, breaks my heart. I will keep this young man and his family in my prayers.

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