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Safety Harbor crash victim doing well after emergency surgery

ST. PETERSBURG — Andrew Hall, who lost a leg Monday when he was hit by a suspected drunken driver, pulled through emergency surgery Wednesday, after which doctors said they were optimistic he will recover.

After 31/2 hours on the operating table at Bayfront Medical Center, Hall was conscious long enough for family members to tell him that they love him and to encourage him by saying he would pull through.

Hall was able to acknowledge them by raising his eyebrows.

Hall also responded to a nurse who told him to stick out his tongue if he felt pain. Hall did as she asked, which encouraged his family.

During his surgery, doctors removed some bone and cleaned his infected wound, family members said.

The 19-year-old with cerebral palsy has struggled to walk unaided his entire life. He lost his left leg and suffered a shattered pelvis when a speeding car struck him while he stood on the sidewalk outside his Safety Harbor apartment.

"Everything is under control, but he's not out of the woods," said Hanyn Arana, 57, who has been a father figure to Hall since he was an infant.

As Hall struggled with his injuries and an infection, his family was left to ponder a life as yet unfulfilled.

On a family computer Tuesday night, Hall's sister uncovered a list of things the young man wished to do before dying. It's unclear precisely when Hall created the list, but it reads like the work of a teenage boy looking to the future.

Tina Hall, 22, said she was searching for a recent photograph of herself and Andrew when she came upon the list: 100 things to do before I die.

She fled to the bathroom in tears.

"It was really emotional for me," she said. "I really broke down."

There were only 15 entries on the list at the time of Monday's crash. The first thing: tip a waitress $100.

Family members weren't surprised.

"He's very generous," Arana said. "He's always been generous."

Other goals ranged from starting a family and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef to owning a monkey. The last thing on the list? Go see a comedian.

Hall said she released the list to the St. Petersburg Times so people could see "what kind of person he was and how much he strived to succeed and not let his cerebral palsy get in the way of what he wanted to accomplish."

She said her brother had crossed off one wish on the list: renting an apartment. Two months ago he moved to Safety Harbor to live with Allen Arana, who has been like a brother to him his whole life. The accident happened outside the apartment they share.

Also Wednesday, the man who Pinellas deputies believe was driving the car that struck Hall, 24-year-old Joshua Dean West, of Tampa, was released from St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. No charges have been filed, but Pinellas deputies believe he was driving while impaired. An investigation is continuing, Pinellas sheriff's officials said.

Goals to achieve

Here is the list Hall had started of the 100 things he wanted to do before he dies. There were only 15 entries on the list at the time of Monday's crash in Safety Harbor.

1. Tip a waitress $100.

2. Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

3. Get my bench press up to 180 lbs.

4. Own 3 four wheelers.

5. Own a boat.

6. Own a house.

7. Get married.

8. Own a monkey.

9. Own a Wave Runner.

10. Start a band.

11. Have 5 kids

12. Own a Dalmatian.

13. Own a truck.

14. Rent an apartment.

15. Go see a comedian.

>>Fast facts

If you want to help

The St. Petersburg Times has received numerous requests from people who want to send Andrew Hall well wishes. Cards and letters to Hall can be sent to his home address at 1850 Main St., Apt. D, Safety Harbor, FL 34695.

Others have asked where to send monetary donations. Family members are working to establish a fund to help pay for Hall's continued care, they said. Details should be released in the coming days.

Safety Harbor crash victim doing well after emergency surgery 04/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 10:48pm]
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