MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Family members of two 14-year-old girls who were seriously hurt after being hit by a car in St. Francis are speaking about the incident for the first time.
It happened just before 6 p.m. Tuesday night at the intersection of Highway 47 and Pederson Drive Northwest.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office says teenagers Kaia Bollmann and Annie LaMotte were crossing the highway in the crosswalk when they were hit by a man driving northbound. The 62-year-old man who hit the girls did stop at the scene.
The families of Annie and Kaia say the girls are best friends. The two were on their way to show choir practice after school Tuesday, but they never made it.
“My wife got ahold of me and said, ‘You gotta come get me. Annie and Kaia have been hit by a car’ — your heart just sinks,” said Chris LaMotte, Annie’s father.
Instead of spending Thanksgiving at home, the girls remain at Hennepin Healthcare.
“It’s horrible seeing your child laying in a hospital bed and you can’t fix it, you can’t just make it better,” said Lisa LaMotte, Annie’s mother. “That’s the hardest part.”
Both families say they plan on pushing for a pedestrian bridge at the intersection. WCCO learned the St. Francis area school district had raised the issue of safety years ago. A crosswalk and flashing lights were added.
“Annie said, ‘Dad, we did everything right. The lights were flashing, we were in the intersection and the next thing we know it was headlights, and then I woke up with people around me,’” Chris LaMotte said.
Annie had surgery on Wednesday and has already started physical therapy, but her family isn’t sure when she can come home. Kaia has a longer road to recovery, as she is still in critical condition with head trauma. For a brief moment on Thanksgiving night, however, Kaia opened her eyes.
“There’s been squeezing of fingers and kind of blinking – her eyes aren’t open – but blinking of her eyelids, so that gives me hope,” said Jill Kelley, Kaia’s mother.
The families also thanked two good Samaritans who stopped to help administer CPR to their girls after the incident. The crash is still under investigation.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Annie’s recovery expenses.