Boy miraculously awakens from coma after car accident in Peabody

Nathan Viera, 4, came out of a coma more than a week after he and his mother were struck by a car in downtown Peabody. (Courtesy Photo)

PEABODY — A 4-year-old boy has emerged from a coma more than a week after he suffered a traumatic head injury when he was struck by a car in the downtown.

Nathan Viera, and his mother, Marly Araujo, were severely injured after they were thrown 15 feet into the air when they were hit by an elderly driver while crossing Washington Street. They were rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Araujo, 48, suffered a concussion and was released from the hospital last week. But she is staying with her son as he recovers.

“It’s a truly a miracle,” said a family friend who asked to remain anonymous. “Nathan woke up Friday and opened his eyes and the doctors are really positive. He was conscious and able to respond to his mother. He’s doing so much better.”

No one expected Nathan to wake from the coma so soon, the friend said, and the family is trying to remain positive as he tries to talk.

“The family is very private,” she said. “But it’s safe to say that Nathan faces a long recovery and has some pretty big surgeries ahead of him. The family wants to focus on the good things that are happening, but don’t like talk about the bad stuff.”

The boy’s prognosis has not been explained to the family, she said.

Araujo, a self-employed house cleaner, cannot work as she recovers and cares for Nathan. Her husband’s ability to work will also be impacted by the accident, friends say.  

As a result, the friend launched a GoFundMe online fundraiser. So far, $16,000 of $25,000 goal has been raised by more than 300 people in 10 days. Contributions ranged from $5 to as much as $500.

“Marly will not be able to work because she has to be by Nathan’s side and her husband is limited too because they have another child they have to care for,” the friend said. “It will be tough on them and I’m asking people to pray for Nathan and support the Go Fund Me campaign.”

Among the donors’ comments include this from Heidi: “Hi, praying for both of you for a speedy recovery and back to health. I know you both, you live in my building, so sorry for your accident. I pray that Jesus Christ, who is our healer, will touch you both with complete healing of all your injuries…”

The Kennedy family wrote, “I was there right after the accident before the first responders and have been praying for this family every day. I also have a son about the same age and seeing the grief of the father broke my heart. I am praying for a swift recovery for the whole family.”

Police said Araujo had just picked up her son from daycare and was crossing the street to her husband’s car when they were hit.

Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Daly said the driver stopped and waited for help. The accident investigation is ongoing by the Peabody Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit, and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

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