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Father struggling to fight legal battle for injured Utah son

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A California father is struggling to give his crippled son the proper health care and attention he needs. Last October, his son was injured in a police chase gone wrong in South Salt Lake.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A California father is struggling to give his crippled son the proper health care and attention he needs. Last October, his son was injured in a police chase gone wrong in South Salt Lake.

This father don't know what to do anymore. Right now his son is recovering here at St. Joseph Villa Rehab Center in Salt Lake City. Physically he's actually making small amounts of progress, but legal battles are limiting the type of care his son is getting, and his father is running out of options.

One move at a time, Michael Peterson is trying to help his son recover from a life crippling injury.

"It's going to be a long road, a long road because of the amount of traumatic injury on his brain," said Michael Peterson, father of Eric Peterson.

Today Eric Peterson can't speak, or move the left side of his body. Nearly seven months ago, Eric and his girlfriend were stopped a stop light in South Salt Lake when an alleged drunk driver crashed into them.

"He was in a coma for two months," said Peterson.

The driver had stolen an unlocked South Salt Lake police car with the keys left in the ignition. Police chased after him, until he crashed into Peterson's car. His father believes that chase should've never happened.

"I watched the Dash Cam videos, there were times they were up to a 101 miles an hour chasing this drunk guy. They could've watched it on GPS, they could've thrown a tax strip out. Where's he going to go in a cop car?" Peterson said.

Ever since the crash Peterson has been fighting a series of legal battles, including custody rights. Because of it, he says he's struggled to get his son the proper health care he needs.

"They only do so much, they won't pay for his physical rehab, his speech therapy, so I'm in here everyday working his legs and his arms," he said.

Peterson is unemployed from California and moved to Salt Lake to be close to his son. But he said if something doesn't change soon, he's worried he may be out on the street.

"Friday I'm going to have to move out of the place that I'm in and find another place to go. I don't know where I'm going to go, my funds have run out, I don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

Peterson would like to relocate his son to California so he can be close to his family and help his rehabilitation improve. But with everything going on, he doesn't know how he's going to make that happen.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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