Family holds on to hope after horrific crash

A Pierce County family is holding on to hope as a teenager fights for his life after a horrific crash.

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“He’s an awesome kid. He’s the kind of kid that just lights up the room when he comes in,” said Shawnna Sparks as she described her stepson, Lorenzo Sparks.

She also called him a fighter.

“He has a very long road ahead of him but we are seeing signs of progress and him getting stronger,” Sparks said.

Lorenzo is 18 and a senior at Challenger High School.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said it appears Lorenzo may have been running late to school, driving fast, and didn't see a garbage truck backing out of a driveway. He hit it so hard, he pushed the truck 4 feet. Looking at the mangled mess, it's incredible he survived - thanks to an Army Ranger who was in the right place at the right time.

“It's a miracle he was there,” Sparks said.

Rangers are trained in first aid and he knew just how to apply pressure to what could have been a fatal wound to Lorenzo's carotid artery.

The family reached out to the Ranger, who visited them over the weekend.

“I haven’t had chance to meet him yet. I know Lorenzo's mom did. He came out Saturday morning,” explained Sparks. “I definitely want to hug that guy. He saved his life, 100%, if he hadn't been there.”

Sparks said the family is touched by the community's outpouring of support.

But she said Lorenzo is not out of the woods yet.

“Basically, just keep praying. Keep praying for a miracle,” Sparks added. “The kid's had quite a few miracles already so far, and we're just hoping they keep coming his way. He needs all the help he can get.”

Lorenzo loves cars and he wants to be a mechanic after graduation. His family is just hoping and praying he'll get to do that.

The driver of the garbage truck was not hurt.

The family has set up a fundraiser for Lorenzo's medical expenses here: