The East Hamilton Middle School student, who was hit by a car in East Ridge last month, is preparing to leave the hospital. Police say 13-year-old, Daniel Tomanelli was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel on Ringgold Road on December 3rd. The woman's car hit a truck parked on the side of the road, struck a road sign and a metal utility pole, before finally coming to a stop. Tomanelli was hit and thrown across the sidewalk. For the first time since the accident his dad sits down with Channel 3 Eyewitness News about Daniel’s recovery.

Douglas Tomanelli calls his son a miracle child. He fought back tears talking about his son's recovery and how he was not expected to survive.

“His mom called me and said you got to hurry up and come down to East Ridge. Daniel has been hit by a car. "Click.” It's a phone call Douglas Tomanelli wishes he never had to answer. In a panic he tried to collect his thoughts and started preparing for the worst. “I couldn't think, I couldn't process. I was running around trying to get dressed.”

His son was rushed to Erlanger where doctors and nurses operated on him for hours. Daniel's injuries included internal bleeding, fractured bones, a broken jaw, and severe head trauma. “It was so extensive that blood was pouring down his face, he was choking on his own blood, he had emergency tracheostomy surgery so he could breathe.”

For the next five weeks, Daniel remained in the intensive care, fighting for his life, while his father prayed that his only son would make it out alive. As the happy, smart boy he once was. “God, am I ready for a mentally disabled child after 13 years of normalcy?”

Slowly, Daniel began gaining consciousness and breathing on his own, he began therapy and for the first time --in what seemed like forever-- he was able to communicate with his parents.  A simple thumbs up from Daniel was all his dad needed, to know his son was going to be okay. “Writing to us, texting to us. Everything slowly started coming into place.”

The last month has been difficult for the Tomanelli family. But with the power of prayer they said they are ready for Daniel to come home. “So many fears, a lot of praying going on. A lot of confusion and in the everything worked out, everything worked out.”

Daniel is expected to return home to Chattanooga this week, from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

So far, there have been no charges filed against the driver who fell asleep. East Ridge Police said the case has been handed over to the District Attorney and it is still an ongoing investigation.

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