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Crowd welcomes injured student

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

SOUTH POINT —It's been a long six months for Daniel Hughes and his family. But Daniel, his father David Hughes, his mother Kelley Hughes and his three younger siblings will finally spend a weekend together at home — and a crowd of more than 100 was on hand at South Point High School on Thursday afternoon to welcome them.

In early September, Daniel Hughes was in the midst of his first month of classes as a freshman at Ohio State University. He was riding his bike to class on Sept. 5 when he was hit by a dump truck near the entrance of a construction site on campus. The 2012 South Point graduate lost his leg and suffered severe damage to his pelvis.

Since then, he's remained in Columbus undergoing surgeries, treatment and physical therapy. He was supposed to be home at Christmas, but an infection left him hospitalized. Now the Hughes family has finally gotten the green light to come home for a few days.

"It was a nice drive home," said David Hughes, his father. "We're going to take it easy and go to church."

First, though, a lot of people wanted to give Daniel Hughes hugs and welcome him home. They all gathered at the top of the entrance to the high school, where David Hughes said the family had been told to stop to see just a few of Daniel Hughes' high school friends. Instead, they were greeted by a throng of friends and family members.

"It's unbelievable," Daniel Hughes said. "Just a general thank-you for all the support and prayers. All that means so much to me."

People held up signs, some wore t-shirts and a first-grade student at South Point Elementary delivered a basket of Valentines made by each of the kids in the class.

Also greeting him were close friends Stephanie Hensley, Hannah Hinkle and Trish Van Steenberg. They all went to high school with Daniel Hughes and had been to Columbus a few times to visit him. They were there Wednesday helping him get ready to come home.

"It feels amazing (to have him home)," Hensley said, with tears welling up in her eyes.

David Hughes said they have some things to catch up on Friday, noting he has spent every night since the accident in Columbus. The last time he was home, he said, was to vote in November.

Kelley Hughes said they developed a great extended church family in Columbus, but they are ready to have all four children together at home under one roof. How will they celebrate? By sharing a Giovanni's pizza, something Daniel Hughes said he will enjoy very much.

In January, the family filed a lawsuit against Ohio State, the driver of the dump truck and 10 contractors hired by the university. The action alleges each failed to keep students safe, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Despite the lawsuit, Daniel Hughes said he still loves Ohio State and is contemplating a return to school at some point in the future to continue his pursuit of a degree in chemical engineering.



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