A mum has posted shocking footage of her daughter lying in a disfigured mess asking if this is ‘real life’ after a pizza delivery driver hits her on a pedestrian crossing.
Laken Struder was on her way to the beach with her friends on Okaloosa Island, Florida, when she was tossed 30 feet into the air by a car that was said to be traveling at about 40 miles per hour.
The distressing footage shows her lying in a contorted pile moments after she was run over by a pizza delivery driver, just one day after celebrating her 15th birthday.
Lakin can be seen writhing in pain and was left with a ruptured third-degree liver, a broken left femur and tailbone, and bruised lungs and kidneys.
Doctors told her there was a 95 percent chance she would never speak or walk again, but she made a miraculous recovery, despite suffering internal injuries and a life-changing stroke.
Laken Struder (pictured before the accident and in hospital recovering) was on her way to the beach with friends on Okaloosa Island, Florida, when she was hurled 30 feet in the air by a car that was said to be traveling at about 40 miles per hour.
Her mother, Elena Jones, 35, arrived just minutes after the accident in March of last year.
She said: At the scene of the accident she was talking to me. Her leg flipped under her.
She kept saying “Mom, is this real, is this real life?”. It was really terrifying.
However, while being transported between several hospitals, Lakin suffered a stroke that left her unable to walk, speak, read, or write.
A year later, her mother reflects on her future as Lakin has regained the ability to walk, passed her driving test and has also participated in beauty pageants.
Elena, from Magnolia, Arkansas, said she flew to Okaloosa Island in Florida for her birthday.
The next day, Lakin and five of her friends headed to the beach.
Lakin was the last to reach the other side of the pedestrian crossing when the pizza delivery driver hit her.
Pictured: Laken Struder lying on the floor after the accident and in hospital. He told doctors there was a 95 percent chance she would never speak or walk again
Elena said: ‘I was laying down for a nap and was about to go to sleep and her friend called me.
I almost didn’t answer the phone. When I answered her her friend said, “Luck was hit by a car.” I just said, “What?”.
Panic and fear in her voice, she knew it was dangerous.
Friends had only just left the apartment, Elena said, so she arrived on the scene about four minutes after she was shot.
She said that while she thought only Lakin’s leg was broken, the teenager ended up with many internal injuries.
Pictured: Lakin being transported to receive medical treatment and brain scans for the injured. She miraculously made a recovery, despite suffering a life-changing stroke and internal injuries
After the accident, she was taken to HCA Florida Hospital Fort Walton-Destin.
Days later, she was flown to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola and stayed there for two weeks.
While traveling on the plane between the elbows, Lakin suffered a stroke.
Her mother, who is also a nurse, said she had a stroke between the first and second hospital.
She said: They gave her some painkillers and she came out of it.
Pictured: Lakin in hospital with her mother, Elena. Her mother, who is also a nurse, said she had a stroke between the first and second hospital
“There was a shiver in her arm and she wasn’t moving her right side at all.”
They reached the second hospital and were sent to the pediatric intensive care unit where they were waiting to examine her legs.
After they fixed her leg, they did an MRI of her and told them she had had a stroke.
She had a carotid dissection, which is when there is a tear or separation in the layers of the carotid artery in your neck.
A year later, Lakin still has difficulty writing, reading, and speaking.
She also struggles with her mental health due to her feeling trapped as a result of her difficulties communicating.
Pictured: Lakin is in a wheelchair and learning to drive. You have now passed your driving test
“Her hand and her words will take longer to come back,” Elena said.
She can’t read, she can only pick out certain words, so everything is read to her at school.
She has something called expressive aphasia and receptive aphasia so her brain knows what she wants to say but it won’t let her say it.
We’ve done a lot of therapy, and I would say she’s probably 30% back (of her speech) now.
“In conversation, it’s usually like one word of it, but it’s all there perceptually.”
Pictured: Lakin passed her driving test and attended a beauty pageant. Her mother said, “She likes to hold her pageants as long as she doesn’t need interviews.”
She added, “She’s a 100-percent 16-year-old trapped in a body she can’t use to communicate.”
She has lost many friends because she cannot communicate as well as she once did.
“She’s so depressed, she’s so angry. But she’s made tremendous progress while she’s alive.”
She passed her driving test. We went to a place for people with learning disabilities. They read it to her, and she died.
“She loves doing her pageants as long as she doesn’t need interviews.”
Elina hopes sharing her daughter’s story will encourage drivers and pedestrians to be more aware of their surroundings.
She said: ‘I want drivers to be aware of their surroundings.
I also think we need to teach our kids that the driver won’t just stop. You don’t just go out on the road thinking they’re not going to hit me because they will.
I also want to encourage others to treat people with respect, simply because they may have a disability or physical defect. They are still cognitively aware and know what is going on.