BREVARD COUNTY — Cameron Redstone’s family remains hopeful that the 22-year-old – in a coma at the hospital – will soon regain consciousness following a wreck earlier this month that ejected him from a vehicle.
The Vero Beach man suffered significant brain damage after the Feb. 5 multi-vehicle crash in Brevard County involving a semi-tractor trailer that left the scene, the family’s attorney Clinton Lanier said. Redstone was being treated at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, where his family has been by his bedside everyday.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare seeing your child hooked up to all these tubes and a ventilator,” Cameron Redstone’s mother, Angela Redstone, said in a statement. “All I’m asking for is prayers and for his recovery.”
Cameron Redstone, a CVS Distribution Center employee, has brain swelling and bleeding, a collapsed lung and a fractured pelvis, said Lanier, who is based in Vero Beach and specializes in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Redstone remains in critical condition and is unable to breathe on his own.
Lanier said the ventilator is breathing for Redstone 95 percent of the time. The family attorney said doctors made an incision into Redstone’s trachea and hooked the ventilator up to his windpipe.
“He’s receiving superior medical care,” Lanier said. “He might be able to walk and talk again, but it’s too early to tell.”
On Wednesday, a small sign of hope emerged when Redstone opened his eyes.
“His eyes followed the nurse and his grandmother,” Lanier said. “He’s still unable to respond to commands such as ‘blink your eyes’ or ‘smile.’ He has moments where he will open his eyes then close them again. He has not regained consciousness.”
The family is offering a $7,500 reward for anyone who has information on the identity of the truck driver. Several people left comments on Facebook wishing Redstone “a speedy recovery.”
Lanier released four photos this week showing Redstone lying in the hospital bed. Redstone’s head and parts of his leg were in bandages, and bruises can be seen on different parts of his body.
Lanier said Redstone has about $500,000 in medical expenses.
“It’s a horrible situation,” Lanier said.
The day after Valentine’s Day, Angela Redstone posted a picture on Facebook of her son, Cameron Redstone. The undated image showed the youthful joy of Redstone, who is seen holding up what appears to be a freshly caught fish.
“Happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite love Cameron Redstone,” Angela Redstone said in the Facebook post. “Miss you. Keep the prayers (coming) for him.”
The crash that left Redstone with life-threatening injuries involved four vehicles total. The multi-vehicle wreck occurred at 1:30 a.m. on southbound Interstate 95 in Palm Bay, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Redstone was a passenger in a Honda Accord, driven by 19-year-old Steven David Sanchez Valdes, of Vero Beach. Witnesses told highway troopers the Honda Accord and a Honda Civic were both traveling south in the center lane near mile marker 175.
The Honda Civic, driven by 37-year-old Melissa Ann Billman, of Orlando, was traveling behind the Accord, troopers said. Both drivers were traveling the posted 70 mph speed limit, highway troopers said.
Troopers said the Civic failed to stop in time and struck the back of the Accord. The impact spun the Accord in a counter-clockwise direction, ejecting Redstone from the vehicle, troopers said.
“When they were rear-ended, the (Accord) driver said Cameron was gone,” Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson Lt. Kim Montes said. “The paramedics found Cameron on the right shoulder.”
Troopers said Redstone was not wearing a seat belt. The wreck sent the Accord smashing into a guardrail, while the Civic struck a tree.
Montes said Sanchez Valdes got out of the Accord. But, the dangerous series of events was far from over.
Just five minutes later, a southbound Ford Fusion struck the left side of the Accord, officials said. Troopers said the Ford driver, 30-year-old Antoine Dennis Jackson, of Palm Bay, failed to see the Accord.
Then, after about five more minutes, a semi-tractor trailer with a white cab and green trailer also struck the Accord, tearing the vehicle in half, troopers said. Troopers said the tractor-trailer driver did not stop, making it a hit-and-run crash.
“We’re still looking for the tractor-trailer,” Montes said.
Florida highway troopers continue to spread awareness of hit-and-run crashes to encourage drivers to stay at the scene.
There were 461 total hit-and-run crashes for Indian River County in 2020, including 91 with injuries and one fatal, according to the FHP crash dashboard. Just north in Brevard, there were 2,161 total hit-and-run crashes last year, including 531 with injuries and five fatalities.
Troopers said Billman, the driver who caused the initial crash, was “asleep or fatigued” at the time of the wreck. Billman was given a citation for careless driving, a civil traffic offense.
Troopers did not suspect alcohol or drug use in the first two crashes. Montes said Billman will not be arrested because she was not driving recklessly, which is a criminal offense.
Florida law defines reckless driving as “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Billman and her passenger were treated at area hospitals after the wreck, troopers said. Sanchez Valdes was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Jackson was treated at Palm Bay Hospital for his injuries, troopers said. Montes said if the tractor-trailer driver is found, he or she will be charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Photos provided by Clinton Lanier