A little girl with Down's syndrome is recovering at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital after she was hit by a car Tuesday afternoon as she chased a ball into a busy street.
The man behind the wheel was driving on a revoked license at the time, but instead of placing blame, the child's family is offering compassion.
"She's going to make it. She's going to pull through," said the girl's mother, Teresa Parham.
Rebekah Mejia, 11, has a long recovery ahead. She has three skull fractures, bruising in her brain and a broken collarbone.
The girl ran onto U.S. Highway 43 in front of her house near Alexander Springs Road in Ethridge, TN.
"She just wanted her ball. She just wanted her ball," Parham said.
James Warren, 45, and his wife, Bonnie Warren, were on their way home to Columbia, TN, driving separate cars, when Bonnie Warren, in the lead car, swerved in time. James Warren then slammed on his brakes as hard as he could.
"When I locked my brakes, my front tires didn't move. I had no control over my steering wheel. I was like, 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I hit this girl,'" James Warren said.
The whole thing was like a terrible dream, he said.
Rebekah's sister ran to the house for their mother, who then saw her daughter lying on the road. There happened to be nurses who quickly made it on the scene and said not to move her.
"They said, 'Keep talking to her and rubbing her hand.' Her favorite song is 'I Can Only Imagine.' So I started singing it to her while she was laying there," Parham said.
It's a Christian song by the group Mercy Me and one Rebekah knows well. A few days ago, the family recorded the girl singing along to it at home.
Rebekah was flown by medical helicopter to the Vanderbilt Medical Center, where's she doing better than expected, and Parham is dealing with the guilt she feels for allowing her daughter to play outside.
Now, the two families have a common bond. Each feels the emotional pain the other is going through.
"I pray that God will let him get through this, emotionally, mentally. I can't imagine what is going through his head and his heart right now," Parham said. "I know that he didn't intentionally hit her."
"I can only imagine. My heart goes out to them. I can only imagine what they're feeling. If I could take an ounce of her pain away, I would take it away today. I would take it away," Bonnie Warren said.
"I have a daughter myself, and it's just so many things that can happen in an instant. Love your kid," James Warren said.
James Warren was cited by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for driving on a revoked license, which had nothing to do with driving. It was related to a matter of old court costs.
Rebekah's mother said she doesn't hold that against him, saying that it had nothing to do with the accident, which she knows he did his best to avoid.
A fund has been set up for Rebekah Mejia. People can donateat any branch of First Bank of Tennessee.
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