A London police officer came to her house Thursday afternoon to say they had made an arrest in the case.
“Finally,” she said.
Tristan, 18, now recuperating from a devastating brain injury at home, “was happy to hear, too. He gave a big thumbs-up.”
London police said Jesse Aron Bleck, 26, is charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm and two counts of driving while prohibited in connection with the July 21 collision on Exeter Road that critically injured Tristan.
Tristan, a Laurier secondary school student, and a friend were riding their bikes and heading along the road to go fishing, when Tristan was hit by a car and sent flying.
The driver stopped momentarily, then took off. A witness followed the vehicle and detained a fleeing passenger, said police, who found the vehicle in a nearby parking lot and held it for examination.
In addition to the brain injury, Tristan suffered a compound leg fracture, bruised lungs and other injuries.
He was in a coma for weeks and spent 44 days on a respirator. After three months in London’s Victoria Hospital, he went home in October to continue his recovery.
“I have good days and bad days. He does, too,” his mother said.
“We’re fighting one day at a time. Hopefully he keeps making progress.”
Police said they arrested Bleck at Dundas and Spruce streets, in the city’s east end, at 2:25 p.m. Wednesday. He made a brief court appearance and is expected back in court Tuesday for a bail hearing.
London police chief Steve Williams said “dogged” police work and information from the public led to the charges six months after Roby was injured.
“It’s a good combination of the work of the officers that they did on the day of the incident . . . and the followup by investigators,” Williams said.
“We’ve done a number of appeals to the public and we received some information from various people . . . It’s a matter of putting all the information together.”
Bleck has had brushes with police in the past, but nothing in court records suggested any criminal conviction. In March 2017, he was charged with possessing drugs for trafficking, but both charges were later withdrawn.
Abby Roby said the arrest takes away one worry and allows her to “focus more on Tristan.”
She said she was disappointed that it took so long to make the arrest but she is ready for the lengthy court process.
“I know it’s going to be a long drawn out thing. I’m just going to take it one court date at a time,” she said.
Tristan is doing more physiotherapy “and really likes it.” He has been saying a few words, including “mom.”
She said she can tell when he’s happy and when he’s annoyed.
“It’s a waiting game,” she said about her son’s recovery. “He’s driving the ship.”
“All we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride, whatever way it takes us.”
With files from Jane Sims, The London Free Press