MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis family is speaking publicly for the first time after their children nearly died while out getting ice cream.
In September, Cecilia (Cece) and Jacob Speranzella were crossing Lake Street when a car hit them. Officers say the driver admitted to doing drugs, stealing a car, then driving away when the teenagers desperately needed help.
“We were wondering what was taking them so long,” said their father, Joe Speranzella. “It doesn’t take that long to walk up to Lake Street.”
Cece and Jacob’s parents tried to text them, but it was an officer who responded.
“He came to our door and said, ‘There’s been an accident, your kids have been hit by a car, you need to come with me,’ so we jumped straight in his car and went to HCMC,” Joe said.
Mitzi Speranzella is Cece and Jacob’s mother.
“When I went to see Jacob, he had blood [all over] his face, all over his ears, all over his head, he was just covered in blood,” Mitzi said. “I wanted to clean him up, so I got a towel and I started to clean him.”
The inseparable siblings were divided by a hallway in the ICU. Jacob broke his back, and Cece was unresponsive with a major brain injury. She says it’s all a blur.
“I don’t really remember much. It’s like my brain kind of guarded me from remembering anything at all,” Cece said.
“You know, I would say to her, ‘You’re gonna be OK, baby, you’re going to be fine,’ and I’m just glad that that’s turned out to be true,” Joe said.
After weeks in a coma, Cece is home and intensive rehab — and so is her brother.
“Every morning I wake up and I’m so thankful for my kids,” Mitzi said. “My children are gifts from God to us.”
The family is deeply grateful and deeply confused as to why someone would cause such pain.
“I just want him to know that like there’s two kids that you could have just taken off of this planet, just taken completely away from their family,” Cece said.
But Cece and Jacob are still here and still together.
“It’s never gonna be the same as it was before, but with the challenges that they have, I’m hoping that, you know, they have a happy life,” Mitzi said.
Jacob was at home resting during Thursday’s interview, but he is getting stronger, hoping to get on his bike again one day.
Cece wants to go back to college where she, coincidentally, wants to study crime scene investigation.
The family wants to thank everyone for their prayers. The teens have had miraculous recoveries and they have wonderful attitudes.
Prosecutors say Steven Ross admitted to using crack, marijuana and consuming alcohol before September’s crash. He’s expected in court in December. If convicted, he could face more than two decades behind bars.