Oakleaf High senior's surgery successful after crash that killed friend

Taj Richey has had 5 surgeries since crash, 1 to amputate leg

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - The family of an Oakleaf High School senior who was involved in a serious crash said a surgery on the 18-year-old's right leg was successful.

Taj Richey was in a crash that killed his best friend, Keondre Moss, 16. Brian Ransom, another one of his friends, was also injured in the crash.

On Friday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the crash continues to be an active investigation. Police are asking anyone with any information about the crash to call the Sheriff's Office.

Richey's mother, Stephanie Elder, was pleased with the news from doctors.

"They said starting today (Friday), they are going to have his leg hang off the side of the bed for five minutes, then 10 (minutes) tomorrow," Elder said. "Next week, they are going to try to put pressure (on the leg).”

The last few weeks have been a nightmare for three Jacksonville families. 

On Sept. 16, Richey and his two friends were involved in a crash on Oakleaf Village Parkway. After the crash, Richey has undergone five surgeries to date: one to amputate his left leg and several more to save his right leg.

"My son had surgery last Friday. It was almost like an eight-hour surgery on his right leg. He had a hole in his right leg. They were trying to save it. It was touch and go with the right leg," Elder said.

Richey was transported from Orange Park Medical Center to UF Health in Gainesville. 

“He has a nail in his upper leg and now in his shin area. He has screws there, in his right ankle, to keep it together. They had to take muscle from his left side and skin from his thigh to actually fix the hole in the right leg," Elder said. "Just today (Friday), he had the wrap taken off, so the doctors could see it, and it looks like it’s healing."

Elder believes her son will remain in the Gainesville hospital for the next few weeks before he'll be discharged to a rehab center in Jacksonville.

"He's a fighter," Elder said. "He is very strong."

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