Rebecca Martin was visiting her grandmother in Glassell Park last August when the two went for a morning walk to nearby stores. After a stop at the Fresh & Easy market, the 11-year-old girl followed by her grandmother stepped into the crosswalk on Eagle Rock Boulevard and Avenue 41. The vehicles on the seven-lane boulevard came to a stop – except one. The driver of the vehicle didn’t slam her brakes until she hit Rebecca, who landed on the roof of the vehicle going 30 miles an hour. The girl from Gardnerville, Nevada survived the August 13 accident but she and her family have since been tested by a long and painful struggle. Rebecca, who loved to sing and act, spent months in Los Angeles area hospitals being treated for brain injuries, a collapsed lung, staph infections and other problems. Her mother, Sabrina Martin, who grew up in Glassell Park, lost her job to be at her daughter’s bedside during the months away from home. Rebecca returned home last December and is now going to school a few hours a day in between frequent visits to occupational, physical and speech therapists.
“She was a gifted singer,” Martin said of her daughter, who appeared in four local musicals. “We are not sure if she will be able to sing again.”
The driver of the vehicle, meanwhile, lost her license for three years but challenged the court’s decision, Sabrina Martin said.
Click on the link below for Sabrina Martin’s full account of her daughter accident, struggle and how you can help.
Just 2 weeks before my younger daughter, Rebecca, age 11, was to start 6th school, we allowed her to spend just over a week in Los Angeles. She was staying with my mother, her grandmother when on Aug 13th,2009, Becca was hit by a car on Eagle Rock Blvd. She was in a crosswalk with her grandmother, my mother was just a few feet behind her. As we were told, there were 5 cars stopped in the 7 lanes. A women on her way to work did not see the crosswalk and for a brief moment took her eyes off the road. She hit my daughter going over 30 miles an hour. This women was unaware that they were in the crosswalk so did not realize it until my daughter was on the roof of her car. There were no brake marks until the impact. My mom just missed being hit. My daughter sustained a traumatic brain injury along with a fractured pelvis and bruised lung. She was in an induced coma for about 3 weeks until the brain swelling was past its critical stage. She was then in a semi conscience state, mostly unresponsive to commands for another 2 weeks. After 5 weeks she started with a hand squeeze and following a light when asked. Just before 6 weeks she started responding just enough to qualify for rehabilitation. She was transferred to Rancho Los Amigos in Downey where she stayed for another 5 weeks. During her stay at LA/USC Medical Center, she had a bolt placed in her head for almost 2 weeks to monitor her intracranial pressure, she had staph infections, pneumonia, a collapse lung, a feed tube, trach and her esophagus clinched.
Through this all, I did lose my job as I would not leave Rebecca’s side. We have had a number of fundraisers both in Los Angeles, where most of our family still lives and in Gardnerville to help offset all the travel expenses for both my daughter and husband to come and visit us while in Los Angeles, medical expenses and to help us keep up with all our living expenses as I must stay home with her currently.
Becca is still recovering. She still has a trach as damage was done to both her vocal chords and throat because of the breathing tube initially placed. She has had about 6 surgeries to try and keep her airway open. She has developed scar tissue in her air way so currently her airway is opened about 70%. She has another surgery at Children’s Hospital schedules for March 31st with the hope that if everything looks good, she may be able to get her trach removed. She sustained what is called a diffuse axonal brain injury along with injuries to her right and left frontal lobe. She sustained some brain stem injury and still has what is called ‘intentional tremors’ in her left hand. She is currently being home bound school and may return in April. She had to learn how to walk again and her speech did come back. Her vocal chords have been traumatized so her voice is still raspy.
Top photos from CaringBridge; bottom photo from Google Maps