Teen hit by suspected drunk driver recounts terrifying night he was run down by a truck
SPOKANE, Wash. — A young man once known for how much he loved the outdoors and being active can’t even get out of a hospital bed now.
A Chevy truck collided with Conrad Willems Tuesday night while the 17-year-old was riding his bike home from the gym in Otis Orchards. It happened near the intersection of Wellesley and Harvard.
“I looked over and I just saw headlights and that is when I felt just being slammed in the side of the chest,” Conrad Willems said.
Law enforcement who responded told his family and loved ones that it was a miracle he survived.
“When I could open my eyes, I saw blood dripping down my face and down my nose and I couldn’t move at all,” Conrad Willems said.
The teen’s girlfriend and her mom, Stephanie Lentz, were among the first people to the hospital.
“He’s lucky he’s alive because of how hard he was hit. The radiator in the truck shattered,” Stephanie Lentz said.
That damage to the truck is what helped hasten the suspect’s arrest.
Authorities found Stephen Renfro shortly after the collision. They believe Renfro hit the teen and then left him to bleed out in the road. Renfro is charged with vehicular assault, hit and run, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock, and attempting to elude police.
It appears that he had an extensive criminal history that included at least one DUI conviction in Washington and a recent DUI arrest in Idaho, according to court records. Those documents detailed that he was ordered to have a breathalyzer on his vehicle and had a suspended license.
It’s that history that made Conrad Willems father, Richard Willems, question why Renfro was on the roads that night.
“An individual like this who just truly doesn’t care about other people, you know they feel like they have a right to drink and drive and to heck with everybody else and I’m very fortunate this individual didn’t take my son,” Richard Willems said.
His son is still in the hospital and faces a lot of pain. His pelvis broke in three places, his scapula was fractured and he broke his tibia. He also had road rash and cuts that required stitches all over his body.
Lentz said even though she isn’t his parent, she’s really mad about what happened.
“I’m angry that that guy’s bond is less than the hospital bills out-of-pocket is going to be for his family. I’m angry that this situation could have been avoided,” Lentz said. “He took Conrad’s life in his hands by getting behind the wheel. He never should have been allowed that opportunity.”
Conrad Willems agreed and said he wants other people to learn from this man’s mistake so no one else faces something like this.
“Every time you get behind the wheel, you need to think about what you’re doing because it’s not just your life at risk,” Conrad Willems said. “It’s like your whole life is taken, but you’re still alive.”
Conrad Willems will likely be in the hospital for several more days. His family has started an online fundraiser to help cover medical bills.
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