Man Recovering From Brutal Attack in Waikiki

Preston Ingram
Preston Ingram
Barbara Ingram
Barbara Ingram
Dr. Robert Voogt
Dr. Robert Voogt
Preston and Barbara Ingram in 2005
Preston and Barbara Ingram in 2005

by Cheryl Tan

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WAVY) - A man who lived and worked on Oahu is still recovering tonight from a brutal attack in Waikiki. Police say his assailant, a teenager, hit him in the head with brass knuckles. A blow strong enough to cause brain damage. Now five months later, 53-year-old Preston Ingram is making a miraculous recovery.

After thirty years of marriage, the Ingrams are closer than ever.

"I always tell her I love her, and I'll be home soon, I hope," Preston Ingram says.

For now, home for Preston Ingram is the Neurological Rehabilitation Center in Virginia Beach, just twenty minutes from his Chesapeake, Virginia home.

"It has been very hard, stressful time. You just have to look to what's going good in your life. This facility, being close to home has been a big relief to me," Barbara Ingram, his wife, said.

And it appears to have made a difference.

"I've seen every stage, from coma to where he couldn't recognize people, to the way he is now. And he's come a long way," Barbara Ingram said.

Five months ago, Preston Ingram was rushed to a Honolulu hospital.

The Navy subcontractor had been on a job at Pearl Harbor.

Walking to the hotel after dinner one night, police in Hawaii say a teenager smacked the front part of his brain with brass knuckles.

"I remember about going there, seeing some people, but that's all I remember. I know I didn't hit the man, I didn't try to hit him. Next thing I knew, I went down," Preston Ingram said.

"He's really changed. His whole personality is different," said Dr. Robert Voogt, Chief Executive Officer of the Neurological Rehabilitation Centers.

Dr. Voogt said the blow severely damaged a large part of Ingram's brain, the part that controls communication.

"He doesn't see how impaired he is, as much as his wife sees," Dr. Voogt said.

But, Barbara Ingram is optimistic.

She joins her husband just about every day, sometimes for a meal, and sees glimpses of the man she used to know.

"He's getting to where he was, yes."

Ingram could be in the facility for the next six to nine months. Doctors say he will never be entirely the same. However, they will allow him to go home for Christmas.