DENVER (CBS4) – Ten weeks ago Dee Bridgeman was walking to class at East High School. The 17-year-old had the right away as she crossed East Colfax Avenue. But Denver police say Erin Jackson, 30, ran a red light, hit Dee, and then fled the scene. Jackson turned herself in the next day.
In the first days after the accident nobody knew if Dee would survive. She had a fractured skull, brain damage and paralysis on her left side.
Dee is undergoing intensive physical therapy at The Children’s Hospital. Therapists must move her legs to try to help her remember how to walk. She needs a harness to hold her upright. Dee had hoped to go to college to become a high school counselor. The accident has changed all those possibilities.
Dee’s mother, Eriana, says she thinks Dee recognizes her.
“When you ask her to give you a hug, she’ll put one arm around you and rub your back.” Eriana said. “When you talk to her, she’ll smile.”
Janice Bridgeman, 13, shared a room with Dee at their home. She talked with CBS4’s Suzanne McCarroll about what she misses most about her sister.
“Her making me laugh,” Janice said.
Dee’s mother says she could have forgiven the driver who hit her had she not fled the scene.
“Accidents happen every day and we all live our lives around the mistakes we make, but I think it changed when she drove off and left her in the road, and then finding out that she was a teacher broke my heart,” Eriana said.
Therapists will continue to show Dee pictures of her mom and sister hoping to help her remember. Janice will keep Dee’s favorite posters up and their bedroom ready no matter how long it takes for Dee to come home.
“I’m not giving up, that’s not what I’m going to do,” her mother said tearfully.
A fund has been set up at Wells Fargo. Donations can be made for Deyondrah Bridgeman at local branches. The family has health insurance but the long-term costs are far exceeding the coverage.
– Written by Suzanne McCarroll for CBSDenver.com