SEABROOK — A 16-year-old Winnacunnet High School student from Seabrook was fighting for his life at a Boston hospital yesterday afternoon after being struck by a car while riding his bike to see his grandmother.
Matthew Denis is on life support and in critical condition at Boston Children's Hospital, a family member said.
"By the looks of it, it's not good," said Denis' aunt, Felicia Kimball, who added that the family should have more details about his condition on Monday.
About 3 p.m. Thursday, Denis was struck by a motor vehicle on Route 1 in Seabrook as he crossed the busy road from the area of Home Depot to the adjacent Lake Shore Drive.
According to a press release, the 29-year-old Hampton Falls, N.H., woman operating the vehicle told police "there was no time to react to the bicyclist."
Witnesses told police the victim crossed five lanes before being struck in the far right southbound lane. Kimball said Denis was not wearing a helmet. Police did not identify the driver.
Denis was first taken to Exeter, N.H., Hospital before being flown by helicopter to Boston.
News of the collision spread quickly to Denis' classmates at Winnacunnet through social media websites, and the students soon rallied behind the high school junior.
"It started on Twitter because someone tweeted 'wear blue,' and everybody just started saying it," classmate Chris Silver said.
When school ended yesterday, a sea of blue poured out the doors of Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H.
Earlier that morning, students dressed all in blue gathered for a small ceremony between first and second periods to pray for Denis.
Amanda Dorval and Sidney White, who ride the No. 7 bus with Denis, said students observed a moment of silence, shared stories about him and said a few prayers.
"I'd say half the school came out," said Silver, who grew up a few streets down from Denis.
Silver remembered Denis as someone whose big heart is matched by his big passion for Winnacunnet sports.
"He didn't play sports, but he loved the games. He loved football. He went to every home game. He used to ask all the players for autographs," Silver said.
A vigil for Denis was held last night at Tuck Field, and another one is planned for Monday shortly before school ends. A tentative plan involves students walking around the track at Tuck Field.
An investigation into the collision continues. Seabrook police are asking witnesses to contact Seabrook police at 603-474-5200.
HOW TO HELP
Donations may be made to Matthew Denis Jr. fund, c/o TD Banknorth, 270 Lafayette Road, Seabrook, N.H. 03874.