by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
STATESVILLE, N.C. - Next month will mark one year since Elijah Houpe was hit by a driver and left on the side of a Statesville road.
Statesville Police have identified the driver, but he has not been arrested. A captain told Eyewitness News that investigators are waiting for the evidence to be processed at the state crime lab.
Once the results are in, investigators will meet with the district attorney to discuss all the factors in the case and determine if any criminal charges will be filed.
For the first time since the accident, Houpe spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News about his push to regain his strength and independence.
"I see myself in a place I didn't think I would be,” he said.
He said he is now more determined and passionate about life.
Houpe was paralyzed when he was hit by a driver while riding his bike from a friend's house last November. Since the incidient, he's regained movement in his arms and feeling in his chest.
"I really see a lot of my improvements, like every day I'm learning to do something new for myself," he said.
He is working to recover as much of his physical ability as possible.
"Me being in my youth, my body has more healing ability than, say, had this happened to me 20 years from now,” Houpe said.
His mother, Phyllis Summers, is holding a fundraiser on the anniversary of the accident to raise money so he can get 16 months of therapy at Race to Walk in Mooresville, a facility that specializes in helping people with spinal cord injuries. The cost is $21,760.
"Every day, my wheels are turning, thinking, ‘What can I do next to help him to become more independent?’ And I'm going to help him get there," Summers said.
Houpe just moved into his own apartment, and his mom bought him a van that she hopes to get converted to meet his specific needs. Houpe said he is moving forward even though the investigation is at a standstill.
"It's possible. You got to keep the faith, believing and keep pushing towards it," Houpe said.
Elijah Houpe's family will hold a Sunday dinner fundraiser on Nov. 11. It starts at 1 p.m. at 1424 Rickert St. in Statesville.
For more information, call 704-881-2779 or 704-500-3676.