Two teens who survived train crash remain hospitalized with brain injuries
Sixteen-year-old Chita Chuwan and 19-year-old Suk Man Rai died in the crash at the Beuchel and Crawford Avenues crossing on March 14. Kismat Mishra and Nabin Thapa are still hospitalized with brain injuries, according to a family friend.
"I was confused, who was dead and who was alive," said Nara Thapa said about the initial news.
Thapa's father spoke with WDRB News outside the hospital Tuesday, along with Mishra's mother and family friend Woodrow Hood.
"It is very, very hard to see," Thapa said about his son's condition.
Hood says 18-year-old Mishra, a student at Waggener, appears to be on the road to recovery. He's responding to pain and has even given a 'thumbs up' when prompted.
He says 17-year-old Thapa still isn't responding.
"He actually dropped out of school recently because his mom is sick and his dad is also injured and he dropped out to come and help his family and just a week ago was talking about re-enrolling now that they're doing a little better," Hood said about Thapa.
Officials say all four victims were JCPS students. Hood says they all love soccer.
A photo provided to WDRB shows Suk Rai and Kismat Mishra wearing professional jerseys together.
"They all are athletes," Hood said. "There's a nationwide soccer association within the Butanese-Nepali community and they compete in that together," Hood said.
Hood says the boys were on their way to play soccer together on the day of the crash. It happened at the Buechel and Crawford Avenues crossing.
He says there's a sharp curve near the scene and nothing to block traffic from crossing the tracks. Hood believes the kids probably had music on.
We're told there's been an outpouring of support for the victims. Hood says a lot of people have been visiting at the hospital as Mishra and Thapa remain in the ICU in rooms next to each other.
JCPS counselors have been on hand at the teens' schools to help other students cope with the tragedy.
All four young men are part of Louisville's Bhutanese-Nepali Community. Their families came to the U.S. as refugees.
"They're a very tight knit community,” said Adrienne Eisenmenger with Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
She says KYRM is working with the Bhutanese Society of Kentucky to help the victims' families.
"These young men -- they're community members. They love and support their families and so -- a couple of them were working to help their families to help pay rent and pay the bills -- so this loss just has so many layers," said Eisenmenger.
Medical bills, funeral costs, and parents taking time off work to be by their sides really add up.
"We've been visiting with the families and visiting in the hospital," Eisenmenger told WDRB. She says even strangers are pitching in to help.
"Community support was given to try and help cover some of the funeral expenses for one of the young men," she said.
The group's posted the donation information on its website. It says 100% of the money collected will be divided between the four families.
"And we're just hoping and praying and just thankful for all of the community support, and I know the families are feeling that and that's just been very powerful," said Eisenmenger.