Hilton Head teen expected to recover after vehicle crash Wednesday

A 16-year-old was injured early Wednesday after the vehicle he was driving ran off William Hilton Parkway, sideswiped a tree, and was then struck by a taxi cab, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office incident report.

Alex Heinrich, a 16-year-old rising junior at Hilton Head Island High School, was being treated at Memorial University Medical Center's pediatric intensive care Thursday in Savannah, according to hospital staff.

The driver of the Giddy Up taxicab told deputies he was driving east on William Hilton Parkway near the entrance of Shelter Cove Plaza and Singleton Beach Road at about 3:45 a.m. when he came upon a vehicle with its lights turned off and stopped at an angle in the right lane, the report said.

The cab driver said he tried to avoid an accident by swerving into the left lane, but he struck the stopped vehicle.

According to the report, deputies who responded could not determine whether Heinrich was inside or outside his vehicle when it was struck by the cab.

At the scene, Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division crews requested a LifeStar emergency helicopter to take Heinrich to Savannah Memorial. Helicopter crews, however, said they could not fly because of bad weather, so Heinrich was taken by ambulance to Hilton Head Hospital. Doctors there recommended he be transferred to Savannah, the report said.

Family friend George Deardorff, 48, went to the hospital after Heinrich called him because his mother was in Florida. Deardorff said he believed the teen sustained a punctured lung in the incident but was expected to recover.

"Remarkably, it looks like he's going to be all right," said Deardorff, who saw the teen at Hilton Head Hospital. "He's the greatest kid you'll ever meet."

Follow reporter Cassie Foss at Twitter.com/lcblotter.