Commonwealth Journal

January 18, 2014

Child who was struck by SUV improving

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Five-year-old Malakai Nichols, who was injured when he was struck by a vehicle last week while trying to board a church bus, continues to recover.

“Malakai is doing better,” said his mother, Jael Head Nichols, in a message sent to a Commonwealth Journal reporter.  “There (have) been some bumps in the road, which is to be expected.

“The doctors at UK say he is making some progress,” Nichols added. “Today he even got up with physical therapy!”

Malakai suffered a broken femur and broken jaw on Wednesday after he was struck by a Jeep on Scenic Vista Drive, located off Boat Dock Road in Somerset. Malakai was following his three brothers across the residential road in an attempt to board a waiting Beacon Hill Baptist Church, which was picking up another child across from their home.

Nichols was home, along with her husband, when the accident happened. Nichols said her husband watched the first three boys cross the road, and turned to ask Nichols a question.

At that exact moment, the accident happened.

“When he heard the crash he turned around and yelled and then ran out,” said Nichols, who followed her husband outside.

Police say Justin Puckett, 26, driving a Jeep, maneuvered around the stopped church bus. Witnesses said Puckett tried to avoid Malakai and turned the Jeep to the side, striking the bus.

The young boy was taken by ambulance to the nearby Waddle Station of the Parkers Mill Volunteer Fire Department. From there, he was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

“The first thing Malakai said in the ER was ‘Oh no, I missed church!’” said Nichols.

Nichols said as Malakai continues to improve, he misses being home.

“ ... He misses his brothers, dog, Papa, Mama, teachers and church and (he) wants to go home,” said Nichols.

Nichols thanked the community for their support in the aftermath of the accident.

“We have been truly humbled by the outpouring of love and support from the community of Somerset that we haven’t even been (a) part of long,” said Nichols. “ ...Thank you again for all the prayers, phone calls, texts, and visits. They mean a lot to us.”