The 4-year-old St. Paul boy who was critically injured by a hit-and-run motorcyclist while he was on the way to his birthday party is making an incredible recovery.
Tyrell Baymon sustained major head and brain injuries, but he began his rehabilitation on Monday. Although he isn't talking yet, his smile suggests he's getting better.
Baymon's mother, Marcia Scroggins, told FOX 9 News her son is getting stronger every day.
"He's a little fighter," she said.
Scroggins was holding her son's hand when he was struck more than two weeks ago, and she hasn't left his side since he was hospitalized on May 19th -- his birthday. Baymon and his family were heading to the park to celebrate -- with balloons and cake inside the SUV -- when a man on a sport bike hit Baymon on Lafond Avenue and drove off.
The crash sent Baymon flying, and he smashed his head on the asphalt. His skull was fractured, leaving him unconscious in a hospital bed with a breathing tube and a device in his head that monitored pressure.
Scroggins said she and her family held a 24-hour vigil until the young boy finally opened his eyes.
"I was so happy -- ecstatic, crying," Scroggins said. "Thank God."
Since then, the family has seen ups and downs in Baymon's recovery, but he's now starting a rehabilitation program that will help him regain his strength and get back on his feet.
"They're trying to get him back together real quick," Scroggins said. "They don't want to see him like this. I don't want to see him like this."
So far, he's already started eating whole foods -- with hot dogs and potato chips as his favorites. Therapists are also working with Baymon on cognitive skills by using coloring, puzzles and games.
"They're encouraged," Scroggins said of his progress so far. "They're very amazed -- impressed that he is up, smiling."
Scroggins told FOX 9 News she hopes her son will be well enough to go home at the end of the month, and she promises she will finally give him the birthday celebration he deserves.
"Big old birthday party," she said. "Everyone could come -- everyone who supported us in the community."
The motorcyclist, identified as Ernest Jonas, was arrested at a Shakopee motel a day later and charged with two counts of criminal vehicular operation. He remains in the Ramsey County Jail and will be back in court on Tuesday afternoon.