POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – A South Florida teen who was run over by a Broward County Transit bus remains in the hospital weeks after the accident but Friday, his classmates came together to raise money for Jerry Cunningham and his family.
Hundreds of students from Crystal Lake Middle School braved the heat Friday to make sure Jerry Cunningham and his parents know they care about Jerry and want him to recover and come back to school.
Jerry is still unconscious in the hospital after the tragic bus accident.
Hundreds of Crystal Lake middle school students walked in circles in the late morning heat, knowing they had to do something to help their classmate.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for him to feel that people actually care about him,” said fellow eighth grader Brenda Camporez.
Camporez rode the public bus every day with Cunningham, but she wasn’t on the bus that fateful morning when her classmate was caught under the bus wheels, giving him brain damage and landing him in the hospital in critical condition. He has been taken out of a prolonged medically-induced coma but remains unconscious in the ICU.
“It’s tragic, for a kid that young to go through something like that is just horrible,” said Camporez shaking her head.
Surveillance video showed the tragic accident exactly as it unfolded. Jerry ran to catch the bus and the driver appeared to close the door on his arm while he was still outside. With his arm stuck in the door, he ran next to the bus as the driver sped up. Unable to keep up, Jerry fell and was run over while passengers on the bus screamed for help.
“I was like poor Jerry. I didn’t expect that to happen to him. I heard the news and I was like ‘wow’,” said Jerry’s friend D’Andre Nicholson.
D’Andre described Jerry has a shy guy who likes video games, and is a good friend.
“He was a quiet kid, he would sit in the back. he was nice to everybody, he never made fun of anybody, just a quiet kid, probably didn’t deserve this. No one would.”
That’s why his classmates, some of whom didn’t even know Jerry, paid to be part of Friday’s walk-a-thon. They wore bracelets with the words, ‘Pray for Jerry’ in order to make it clear that Crystal Lakes Middle School misses and supports him.
“He’s getting better, everything works through positive energy. I really believe that and I know this is going to make a difference for him too,” said Principal Sabine Phillips.
The principal said the students raised close to $1,000 dollars in the walk-a-thon for Cunningham’s care, but more than anything, she wanted Jerry’s parents to know that their only son is valued at this school.
As for the bus driver, he is on administrative leave while the incident remains under investigation.