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Friday, June 09, 2023

Teen hit by RTS bus still in critical condition at Shands

An Eastside High School student who was hit by a Regional Transit System bus July 2 was still listed in critical condition at Shands at UF as of Wednesday evening.

Elias Moore, 15, was riding his bicycle when he was hit at the intersection of Southwest 35th Place and Southwest 23rd Terrace.

Gainesville resident Stephen Heyser, who is Moore's cousin, said Moore was biking home from soccer practice and listening to his iPod when he ran a stop sign.

Police said he wasn't wearing a helmet.

"He's lucky to be alive," Heyser said.

The bus driver was given a routine blood test for alcohol, and results have not come back yet from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said Officer Summer Hallett, spokeswoman for the Gainesville Police Department.

A GPD Traffic Homicide investigator will keep the investigation open until the FDLE results come back or Moore's condition changes, Hallett said.

Charges have not been filed against the RTS bus driver, she said.

Heyser said Moore is in a medically induced coma and may need reconstructive surgery for his face.

He visited Moore at Shands Tuesday evening.

"I came out in a weird daze," he said.

Moore is breathing with help from a machine, and he is heavily sedated.

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Even though Moore is in a coma, he can still hear people when they talk to him, Heyser said.

When someone in the room speaks to him, his vitals go up, Heyser said.

Family and friends have been visiting Moore, who is known to be a great piano player and a good dancer, Heyser said.

"He's a real ladies' man, basically," he said.

Family members also shared childhood stories about Moore in his hospital room.

"It's brought us closer in a way," Heyser said. "I can't wait until he gets better."

Santa Fe College student Adrienne Watkins, 22, was driving to her apartment with a friend when they witnessed the accident.

"There was literally a bicycle and a boy flying through the air," Watkins said.

When she rushed to where Moore lay on the side of the road, he was bleeding from his ears, mouth and nose, she said.

He didn't respond to her, and he was unable to move his fingers at her command.

"I just kept stroking his hand and saying for him to stay strong for me," Watkins said.

She said since then, she has reminded people to wear their helmets.

"I was really upset about the whole situation, and I figured the only way I could make light of it was make people wear their helmets," she said.

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