Friends rally for A.G. teen hit by truck

An Arroyo Grande teen who was hit by a truck earlier this week has undergone two surgeries and is recovering at Stanford Hospital.

Fourteen-year-old Garrett Steil was airlifted to the Bay Area hospital late Tuesday, a few hours after he was struck on the east shoulder of Valley Road near Sunrise Terrace.

The collision broke his leg, tore his spleen and aorta, and caused facial fractures, according to a Facebook page set up by family friends.

He had heart surgery Wednesday and surgery Thursday on his leg, said Dawn Zachmann, who has set up an account at Rabobank to help Steil’s parents, Scott Steil and Carrie Silva, cover expenses from staying in a hotel near the hospital, missing work and other costs.

“It’s really a sad situation,” Zachmann said. “But, he’s alive.” She described Steil as a loving, giving teen and a “sweet kid.”

According to the CHP, Steil was headed south on Valley Road about 7:30 p.m. when he was hit by a 1994 Dodge pickup that was traveling north and veered onto the east shoulder of the road.

A CHP report stated that Steil was riding his skateboard; family members told Zachmann that Steil was walking and carrying his skateboard along that section of road.

Steil was first transported to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and later airlifted to Stanford. He was not wearing a helmet, said CHP spokesman J.W. Townsen.

The driver of the pickup, Jerry Philipps, 62, was not injured or cited. Philipps, an Arroyo Grande resident, was traveling about 25 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone, and alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to a CHP news release.

Steil’s mother posted an update on the “Help Garrett” Facebook page late Thursday: “As for us ... we are coping as well as to be expected and are just extremely grateful for each and every one of you and feel so blessed to be surrounded by such an abundance of love and support. We are most importantly grateful that we have such a brave, strong little man who continues to fight.”