FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says their preliminary investigation reveals it was a single-vehicle accident that seriously injured a teenager Friday night, but the victim’s family believes something else happened.

“He’s having some breathing troubles, maybe a blood clot in his lung. They did surgery to remove part of his skull,” said Thomas Nelson, describing his son Payton’s condition Tuesday.

Payton’s still on life support, but his dad says he’s slowly improving, even squeezing a friend’s hand to respond to questions from his hospital bed.

“I would venture to say the average 17-year-old would not have lived through that. No doubt in my mind,” he said.

The motorcycle he was riding is now at a wrecking yard, but it’s a key piece of evidence Payton’s family believes tells the story of what happened late Friday night at County Road 13 and County Road 24.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he took a hard hit from behind. Car, truck, or something. I’ve seen a lot of motorcycle wrecks and this is probably one of the worse rear endings I’ve ever seen,” Thomas Nelson continued.

Despite ALEA’s initial findings, they believe Payton was rear-ended at the intersection based on the bike’s rear-end damage.

“The tail light is busted out and the back fender is bent up. The seat is still physically curled up like a scorpion tail. We’re very hopeful that he’s not going to have any true brain damage,” he said.

While they wait for answers they’re all pulling for Payton and a full recovery.