By Karen Wilkinson

Triplicate staff writer

A 17-year-old Crescent City boy who suffered serious injuries in a car accident two weeks ago is on the road to recovery and won't have permanent brain damage, his mother said Thursday.

andquot;He's slowly mending,andquot; said Robin Askew, Nico Askew's mother. andquot;Quite frankly it's a miracle he's alive.andquot;

Nico was flown to Mercy Medical Center in Redding following a Nov. 24 accident, on U.S. Hwy. 199, just north of Walker Road that left him in a coma for nine days and on life support for a week.

The Del Norte High senior was a passenger in the 1990 Mazda pickup that slammed into a tree and whose unidentified driver fled on foot following the accident. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the case but hasn't yet named the driver.

Nico's skull was fractured, he had three broken ribs, multiple cuts and bruises to the right side of his body, a bruised right lung and multiple contusions to his brain.

andquot;The amount of injuries were phenomenal,andquot; Robin said. andquot;His road to recovery is a very slow road, but he'll get there.andquot;

On Thursday afternoon he was in stable condition, though he couldn't speak, his mother said. He is, however, responding to questions by nodding or shaking his head and squeezing her hand.

andquot;The prognosis at this point is very, very good (and) each day there's a little bit more progress,andquot; she said, adding that his doctors predict he'll fully recover in about a year.

Nico, who was born and raised in Crescent City, worked part-time at the local Burger King. He's described by classmates and friends as a popular, fun, warm young man.

andquot;He's crazy he's just outgoing (and) everything's a joke,andquot; said Vernon Clower, who's known Nico for 10 years. andquot;We're all here for him, (and) when he gets better I'm going to kick his (butt.andquot;)

A andquot;get wellandquot; sign has been plastered on his high school locker, with scribed messages of hope and love.

Friends also sent letters and cards to Nico, his mother said, and some have called daily to check in on him.

andquot;I'm really thankful for all their help and and their continuing prayers,andquot; Robin said. andquot;The community has pulled together for me and my son and has helped me.andquot;

She said Nico's got a good heart, is friendly, generous and likes everybody.

andquot;He's got a lot of friends (and) he likes to have fun,andquot; Robin said.

And without their thoughtfulness and caring ways, Robin would be having a much tougher time.

andquot;He's on his way, he's on his way,andquot; Robin said. andquot;Every day that he gets better I get better.andquot;