Jessalyn Torres, an 11-year-old girl wounded in the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy, spent Thanksgiving recovering in the hospital, her mother said in an emotional Facebook post on Thursday night.
Torres was one of dozens injured when a red SUV rammed into parade marchers in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Nov. 21. Five adults were killed in the crash, and police have arrested Darrell Brooks in connection with the incident.
Jackson Sparks, an 8-year-old badly hurt in the parade, recently died as a result of his injuries, becoming the youngest victim of the deadly crash. Brooks is expected to face an additional murder charge following the young boy’s death.
In addition to Torres and Sparks, three other children were wounded and remain in critical condition as of Friday.
Jessalyn Torres On Ventilator After Waukesha Christmas Parade
According to her mother, Jessalyn Torres was unconscious and on a ventilator as of Friday. She and her mother spent the holiday in a hospital room as doctors worked to assess and treat her injuries sustained four days earlier.
“The hardest part was not being with everyone and Jessalyn, in the condition she is, was not able to be with her family either,” her mother, Amber Kohnke, told the New York Post. “No mother should ever go through this. This is a very traumatic ordeal.”
Kohnke told the outlet that her daughter was dancing in the Waukesha Christmas parade last Sunday when the SUV came barrelling toward her. Torres was reportedly thrown into the air by the force of the impact.
The 11-year-old was hospitalized with a broken pelvis and femur, a fractured skull, and torn lungs, for which she was placed on a ventilator. One of her kidneys was also ripped from her renal artery, and is no longer functional, according to the Post.
Torres has yet to fully regain consciousness and is still fighting for her life in the hospital.
‘She’s A Fighter’
Amber Kohnke said in a Facebook post late on Friday that her daughter’s condition did not appear to be improving.
Doctors removed the child from the ventilator several times Friday to test the strength of her lungs, but she was quickly put back on when she appeared to be struggling to breathe. Medical staff are also frequently draining her lungs of mucus and other detritus to keep her respiratory tract clear and healthy.
There was no change from yesterday’s [lung] X-ray,”her mother wrote. “Not the news I wanted to hear but she needs time to heal. I can accept that.”
Doctors also reportedly found E. coli in the 11-year-old’s urinary tract, requiring a round of antibiotics and possibly complicating her recovery.
“[Medical staff] also discovered her body starting to be covered in rash…. Yup, she is allergic to the new antibiotic. Just another thing to add to the list,” her mother wrote on social media.
Still, Kohnke wrote, there were signs on Friday that her unconscious daughter appeared to respond to her mother’s presence. The 11-year-old apparently reached for her mom’s hand when doctors went to drain her lungs of mucus — an especially grueling process for the child, Kohnke said.
“Jessalyn is finally back to being happy,” her mother wrote. “No she is not off the vent but she gave me the positive I needed for the day in knowing that she is truly a fighter.”
“Yes, today was a very rough day but on a positive note I was able to see my baby respond to me finally.”
A member of the family set up a GoFundMe page on Monday to assist in paying the 11-year-old’s medical costs. As of Sunday, the page had surpassed its goal of $65,000, reaching over $80,000.