Chicago teen hailed as hero in NYC hit-and-run

August 16, 2011 9:47:56 PM PDT
A Chicago teenager is being hailed as a hero after he saved a friend who was in the path of a hit-and-run driver.

Branndin Phillips-Laramore, 16, was hit last Thursday night after pushing the friend out of harm's way on a New York City street. Phillips-Laramore was severely injured.

Phillips-Laramore has been in New York for about a month, taking part in a selective arts program for poetry and song writing. Phillips-Laramore will be a junior at Simeon Academy in the fall.

His family is not sure if he will be able to start school on time because of the serious injuries he suffered last week.

Phillips-Laramore is recovering at Harlem Hospital. He is heavily sedated but aware of what he did.

"It was the first time that he smiled when he said that he was happy that he pushed her out of the way and that was the one thing that kind of cheered him up," Ericka Phillips, his sister, said.

Phillips-Laramore and his friend were about to catch a bus on 125th Street in Harlem when a car sped towards them. Phillips-Laramore pushed her to safety as the car hit him and drove off.

"It was the most terrifying call that I have ever received in my life," said Ericka Phillips. "It also makes me angry - I'm upset that someone was driving that fast. It's sad that they didn't stop," Ericka said.

The impact shattered Phillips-Laramore's femur, the strongest bone in the body. During a two-hour surgery, doctors implanted a titanium rod in this thigh.

Phillips-Laramore's mother, Sedonia Phillips, arrived in New York on Friday. She and his sister have been by his side, amazed by his bravery and by his luck.

"He's always been a real compassionate person, but I was really, really proud that he had done it with a high personal cost for him," said Sedonia Phillips.

The friend who Phillips-Laramore pushed to safety stayed by his side at the hospital for hours on the first night and repeatedly apologized to the family, though they reassured her the crash was not her fault.

The hit-and-run driver who is responsible has not been caught.

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