Injured teen, family not alone in struggle

The community is rallying to help the family of a Huntington Beach teenager who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run car accident last month.

Stephen Cureton, 17, suffered multiple injuries after he was hit by a vehicle near Yorktown Avenue and Beach Boulevard on Feb. 10. He suffered several broken bones, including a shoulder blade, a femur, his nose and some vertebrae, as well as numerous cuts and extensive road rash, his mother said.

He faces a difficult road to recovery that is expected to include surgeries and expensive medical bills.

Councilman Joe Carchio organized a fundraiser to help the Cureton family. Donors were treated Sunday to a pasta-and-salad lunch from Zack's near Pier Plaza. Others politely declined the meal, gave what they could and wished the family the best of luck.

"I'm totally shocked, amazed and blessed," said Victoria Cureton, Stephen's mother. "It makes Huntington Beach seem like a small community to me. I'm very humbled and very grateful that somebody that I've never even met before would do this for my child."

Carchio presented Victoria with a check for $882 during Monday's City Council meeting and, at the last second, Councilman Jim Katapodis handed her $120 in cash to push the total over $1,000.

"I know it's not a huge amount of money, but every little bit helps, especially when you're faced with the financial situation that you're in right now," Carchio said Monday.

Stephen was unable to attend Sunday's event, since he is recovering from his injuries at home and preparing for surgery, Victoria said.

Stephen's knees sustained the most damage, especially his left, which needs reconstruction. His mother said it may take six months to repair that knee and about a year of surgeries to resolve the rest of the injuries.

The teen might have also suffered some nerve damage, but Victoria said doctors told her that they will hold off on testing for that until after his knee surgeries.

Police have yet to find the driver and vehicle, believed to be a dark-colored sports car, possibly a Chevrolet Corvette. A $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can help identify the driver.

"There's someone out there that hit this kid, and they don't have the guts to step forward and take responsibility for what they did," Carchio said Sunday. "That's something that needs to change."

Victoria Cureton said her family's life has been turned upside down. Her daughter, who was attending school in Colorado, decided to enroll locally to help care for her brother.

Though the last month has been particularly hard, Victoria said the generosity of Huntington Beach residents has given her a renewed sense of hope.

"I'm amazed by the outpouring of support, encouragement, prayers and the love that people have shown to us," she said.

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