An evening birthday party on Saturday, Nov. 16 in Orlinda soon turned to tragedy when a passing vehicle struck 14-year-old Tuff Slate. He had been playing outside with other kids in the yard of the home along Highway 49 and did not see the approaching vehicle.
Family and friends rushed to his aid. Orlinda Fire and Rescue were first on the scene and EMTs quickly transported him to a nearby city park to meet the helicopter to be lifeflighted to Vanderbilt Trauma Center. Slate sustained critical injuries.
According to the Robertson County Sheriff’s department, an investigation of the accident is complete and no charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle.
Tuff Slate’s condition has improved in the days following the accident and he is said to be responsive. His facial and head injuries were extensive and his doctors predict a lengthy recovery, according to family members.
His father, Toby Slate posted on social media Wednesday, “We still have our saddles cinched tight for the long uphill climb but are still feeling positive! Love ya’ll Keep Praying Keep smiling and stay #tuffstrong!”
A beneficiary account has been set up. Contributions can be made at any Farmers Bank location under the name, “Tuff Slate.”
Collection jars are at businesses and flyers carry the slogan #Tuffstrong in support of the teen.
Tuff and his twin brother Ty both attend East Robertson High School as freshmen. The sign at East Robertson High School now reads, “Keep Smiling and stay Tuffstrong.”
A benefit has been planned at East Robertson School for Nov. 30. Lunch will be served from 11a.m. to 2p.m. and includes a BBQ sandwich, chips and drink for $6. The food will be donated by several local restaurants including Baldwin’s BBQ, Drunken Pig BBQ, Whitt’s and True’s BBQ. A bake sale is also planned along with a silent auction with all proceeds going to help the family with medical expenses.
Organizers are asking for donation items for the auction. Contacts for the silent auction are Julie Merrill at 615-456-2837 and Amy Martin at 615-708-2554.