Driver thought the worst when boy struck car

OUCH: Cullen Tidy, 8,  was knocked off his scooter by his friend’s mum, Jan Crafts, pictured. 
OUCH: Cullen Tidy, 8, was knocked off his scooter by his friend’s mum, Jan Crafts, pictured. 

As she looked at her friend's son lying face down in a bush, Jan Crafts thought she had killed him.

"He was just very quiet. There was no sound coming from him," she said.

Then Cullen Tidy, 8, began to whimper. Blood was streaming from his mouth and he started shivering as shock set in.

Mrs Crafts had been driving to pick up her 9-year-old son Jack, who was playing with Cullen at his home in Cottonwood Close, Paraparaumu, on Friday afternoon.

She was only metres from her destination when Cullen "came shooting out [from a driveway] on his scooter and hit the car".

"It was just as quick as anything," Mrs Crafts said.

She remembers hearing her own son screaming before she got out of her car and saw Cullen in the bush.

"My initial thought was that I'd killed him."

Cullen was flown to Wellington Hospital by the Westpac rescue helicopter and was treated for injuries that were initially reported as serious.

So when the Paraparaumu Beach School pupil emerged from hospital the next day, Mrs Crafts could not believe it.

He lost two teeth, had a deep cut on his leg and suffered some nasty grazes.

"To be honest, I was completely amazed."

Cullen is no stranger to hospitals, having been born premature along with his twin sister, Brooke. He spent his first nine months in hospital because of complications with his lungs. When he was finally allowed home, he spent three years on oxygen.

Since then he had been admitted to hospital twice with bronchiolitis.

"This is the healthiest we've ever been in hospital, which is quite ironic when you've just been hit by a car," his mother, Clare Pringle, said yesterday.

Cullen is already back on his scooter, but remembers little of the accident. His mother said he was very lucky not to be more seriously injured.

He would need to return to hospital for an operation to remove the nerve endings of his damaged teeth. He would also need dental treatment to replace the adult teeth he had lost, she said.

Mrs Crafts said the accident was a timely reminder about how quickly incidents could unfold on suburban streets. She had been driving slowly, knowing Cottonwood Close - a cul-de-sac near Paraparaumu College - was often bustling with children, but she had little time to react when Cullen appeared.

"I think he hit the car before I even realised. If I'd been going even 20kmh or 30kmh, I'm sure he wouldn't be around."

Police had told her she would not face charges over the incident, she said.

The Dominion Post