Kristine Lynch credits a mother's intuition for calling her Boy Scout son Kaden to check up on him — just three minutes after he and others in his troop were struck by a car during a hike in Manorville Sunday.
"His first words were 'Mom, you're never going to believe this. We've been hit by a car,’ ” the mother recalled Tuesday. "He said 'I'm OK, Mom.' The pain hadn't set in yet. He just knew he shouldn't get up.
"I'm still in this state of disbelief, like wait a second. What happened? It's such a nightmare," she said.
Kaden, 15, a sophomore at Riverhead High School, had been sideswiped by the car and was recuperating from soft tissue injuries at his Calverton home Tuesday, a day after being released from Stony Brook University Hospital, his mother said.
Another scout, Andrew McMorris, 12, of Shoreham, was also struck and died of his injuries Monday.
Two other members of Boy Scout Troop 161 of Shoreham have been released from Peconic Bay Medical Center, a spokeswoman said. Police said one scout remains at Stony Brook University Hospital.
The scouts, led by McMorris' father, had started at 8 a.m. on a hiking trip in preparation for an 80-mile hike next summer in New Mexico, Kristine Lynch said. It was a trip that Kaden, a runner at his school's cross country team, was looking forward to, she said.
The troop had just finished their packed lunches. They had already been walking for more than four hours, so instead of trekking a long loop back to the starting point, Shoreham-Wading River High School, they took David Terry Road, a shortcut but still a good hour's walk back, she said.
Suddenly, Kaden looked up and saw a car almost upon them and there was time only for one thought — that the scouts were going to be hit, the mother said.
What saved several of them from life-threatening injuries, she believes, were their 30-pound backpacks. Kaden's was stuffed with his camera equipment and a 5-pound dumbbell, she said.
"When they fell back, they're not hitting their backs, they're not hitting their heads, they're landing on their backpacks," Lynch said.
Kaden had taken CPR and other emergency response classes as a scout and knew not to get up, she said. He was still on his back when his mother called and she could hear organized chaos in the background, with troop leaders and good Samaritans saying "wait over here" or "you got him."
The Mercedes driver, Thomas Murphy, 59, of Holbrook, pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated. Authorities said upgraded charges are possible.
Tuesday, Kaden was well enough to cheer his school's cross country team as they practiced at Sunken Meadow State Park, his mother said.
She's also keeping an eye on son Colin, 12, another member of the troop, because he was best friends with Andrew and a frequent tent mate during their camping trips.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts will offer grief counselors to the victims, she said.
Kaden used to run on the roads in Riverhead, up to eight miles daily after school, his mother said, and while he still into running, he’s not into running on the roads.
“He said to me, ‘Momma, I can’t do that,’ ” Kristina Lynch said. “He’s scared and he has every right to be. . . I know this is going to be a life changing event and many great things are going to come from this one bad thing. But this one bad thing should never have happened. Never.”