February 22, 1996 in Washington Voices

Finch Student Recovering From Accident

By The Spokesman-Review
 

For four terrible days, Renee Newberry worried that her 5-year-old daughter Chellsey would grow up in the gray vacuum of a coma.

Chellsey was hit by a car last Thursday evening as she ran across Driscoll Boulevard. The accident cracked the girl’s skull, broke four ribs, fractured her pelvis and left friends and family wondering if the Finch Elementary kindergartner would survive.

Chellsey’s mother, Renee, was concerned enough to have her daughter baptized by a priest from St. Aloysius Church.

Chellsey’s brain swelling subsided Monday enough to allow an accurate reading of the damage: a heavily bruised brain, but likely no critical brain damage, according to Renee. Chellsey remains in a sedated sleep and in critical condition. Chellsey’s bruised right lung was drained Monday.

Renee Newberry said the power of her friends’ prayers got both her and her daughter through the ordeal. Raised a Catholic, she had stopped going to Mass regularly.

“This has been a life-changing thing,” said Newberry, a waitress at the China Dragon Restaurant. “(Religious faith) will never leave me and make me weak again.”

Neighbors and members of St. Aloysius, Newberry’s childhood church, have responded, bringing care packages of food, cards and stuffed animals.

Finch Principal Mary Seaman has visited the hospital daily, bringing get-well cards from other students.

The accident has taken its toll on students and faculty. “All children become your children at school, so you worry,” said Seaman, who described Chellsey as a good student who liked school. “You worry a lot.”

Newberry and her husband, Marty, have health insurance. They don’t yet know how much they will be liable for.

“It’s just money,” said Newberry.

The accident happened about 5:40 p.m. Thursday as Chellsey followed her 10-year-old brother Jesse to his girlfriend’s house across Driscoll Boulevard from their home on Rockwell.

A car driven by 50-year-old Lester Johnson struck Chellsey as he was traveling north. Police said Johnson wasn’t at fault.

, DataTimes

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