Mother shares horrifying video of her daughter lying in a mangled mess asking ‘is this real life’ after pizza delivery driver smashed into her on a pedestrian crossing sending her 30ft into the air a day after she turned 15
- Lakyn Stroder was walking to the beach with friends in Okaloosa Island, Florida
- She has made a miraculous recovery despite suffering a life-changing stroke
A mother has shared horrifying footage of her daughter lying in a mangled mess asking if this is ‘real life’ after a pizza delivery driver smashed into her on a pedestrian crossing.
Lakyn Stroder was on her way to the beach with her friends in Okaloosa Island, Florida, when she was flung 30 feet into the air by a car reported to have been driving at around 40mph.
Distressing footage shows her lying in a twisted heap moments after being hit by a pizza delivery driver, just a day after celebrating her 15th birthday.
Lakyn can be seen writhing in agony and she was left with a grade three liver laceration, a broken left femur and tail bone, and bruised lungs and kidneys.
Doctors told her that there was a 95 per cent chance that she would never speak or walk again, but she has made a miraculous recovery, despite suffering from internal injuries and a life-changing stroke.
Lakyn Stroder (pictured before the accident and in hospital recovering) was on her way to the beach with her friends in Okaloosa Island, Florida, when she was flung 30 feet into the air by a car reported to have been driving at around 40mph
Her mother, Elaina Jones, 35, arrived just minutes after the accident, which took place in March last year.
She said: ‘On the scene, she was talking to me. Her leg was flipped up underneath her.
‘She kept saying “Momma, is this real, is this real life?”. It was really terrifying.’
However, while being transferred between multiple hospitals, Lakyn suffered a stroke which left her unable to walk, speak, read or write.
A year later, her mother is hopeful about her future as Lakyn has regained her ability to walk, passed her driving test and also takes part in pageants.
Elaina, from Magnolia, Arkansas, said they had taken a trip to Okaloosa Island in Florida for her birthday.
The following day Lakyn and five of her friends were headed to the beach.
Lakyn was the last to get to the other side of the pedestrian crossing when she was struck by the pizza delivery driver.
Pictured: Lakyn Stroder lying on the floor after the accident and in hospital. Doctors told that there was a 95 per cent chance that she would never speak or walk again
Elaina said: ‘I’d just lay down to take a nap and I was almost asleep and her friend called me.
‘I almost didn’t answer the phone. When I answered it her friend said, “Lak’s got hit by a car.” I just said, “what?”.
‘The panic and the fear in her voice, I knew it was serious.’
Elaina said the friends had only just left the condo so she arrived at the scene about four minutes after she was hit.
She said that while she thought that it was just Lakyn’s leg that was broken, the teen ended up with a lot of internal injuries.
Pictured: Lakyn being transferred to get medical treatment and a brain scan for the injured. She has made a miraculous recovery, despite suffering from a life-changing stroke and internal injuries
After the accident, she was taken to HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital.
Days later, she was flown to the Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola hospital and stayed there for two weeks.
Her mum, who also works as a nurse, said that she had a stroke in between the first and the second hospital, while traveling on a plane.
She said: ‘They’d given her some pain medicine and she was very out of it.
Pictured: Lakyn in hospital with her mother, Elaina. Her mother, who also works as a nurse, said that she had a stroke in between the first and the second hospital
‘There was a twitch in her arm and she wasn’t moving her right side at all.’
They arrived at the second hospital and they were sent to the paediatric ICU where they were waiting to have her legs checked.
After they fixed Lakyn’s leg, they did an MRI on her and told them that she’d had a stroke.
She had a carotid artery dissection, which occurs when there is a tear or separation in the layers of the carotid artery in your neck.
A year on, Lakyn still finds it hard to write, read and speak.
She also struggles with her mental health due to feeling trapped as a result of her difficulties in communicating.
Pictured: Lakyn in a wheelchair and learning to drive. She has now passed her driving test
Elaina said: ‘Her hand and speech will take the longest to come back.
‘She can’t read, she can only pick out certain words, so for school everything is read to her.
‘She has something called expressive aphasia and receptive aphasia so her brain knows what it wants to say but it won’t let her say it.
‘We’ve been doing lots of therapy, and I’d say she’s maybe got 30% [of her speech] back now.
‘In a conversation, it’s usually like one word from her, but cognitively she’s all there.’
Pictured: Lakyn passes her driving test and attends a beauty pageant. Her mother said: ‘She loves to do her pageants as long as she doesn’t require interviews’
She added: ‘She’s 100 per cent a 16-year-old girl that’s trapped in a body that she can’t use to communicate.
‘She’s lost several friends because she can’t communicate like she did before.
‘She’s very depressed, she’s very angry. But she’s made tremendous progress and she’s alive.
‘She passed her driving test. We went to a place for people with learning disabilities. They read it to her, and she passed.
‘She loves to do her pageants as long as she doesn’t require interviews.’
Elaina hopes that in sharing her daughter’s story she will encourage both drivers and pedestrians to be more aware of their surroundings.
She said: ‘I want drivers to be aware of their surroundings.
‘I also think we need to be teaching our kids that the driver isn’t just going to stop. You don’t just walk out into the road and think ‘they won’t hit me’ because they will.
‘I also want to encourage others to treat people with respect, just because they may have a disability or physical defect. They’re still cognitively aware and know what’s going on.’
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