9-year-old girl hit by SUV at school bus stop released from hosp - WDRB 41 Louisville News

9-year-old girl hit by SUV at school bus stop released from hospital

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Vanessa Levros and her brother, Joc Fields. Both were hit by an SUV that ran them over as they waited at their JCPS bus stop on Oct. 20, 2016. (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News) Vanessa Levros and her brother, Joc Fields. Both were hit by an SUV that ran them over as they waited at their JCPS bus stop on Oct. 20, 2016. (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News)
Vanessa was in a coma for a month after the Oct. 20 crash and has been hospitalized since that day. Vanessa was in a coma for a month after the Oct. 20 crash and has been hospitalized since that day.
Eight-year-old Phillip Neal was also injured in the crash. He is recovering from his injuries (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News) Eight-year-old Phillip Neal was also injured in the crash. He is recovering from his injuries (Photo by Toni Konz, WDRB News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Exactly two months after a SUV slammed into Vanessa Levros as she waited with a group of other children on the sidewalk for their school bus, the nine-year-old was released from the hospital Tuesday and will get to spend Christmas at home.

"This is the best thing we could have asked for...she gets to spend Christmas at home with her family," Lakeisha Johnson, Vanessa's mom, told WDRB News on Tuesday.

The crash happened around  8 a.m. on Oct. 20 just past the intersection of 32nd Street and Dumesnil in west Louisville.

Johnson's oldest son, Jaconiah “Joc” Fields,10, was also hit by the SUV. He and a third child, Phillip Neal III, suffered serious injuries, including broken bones, concussions and other internal injuries.

Joc and Phillip left Norton Children's Hospital after a few days and returned to classes in wheelchairs at Dixie Elementary and Engelhard Elementary a few days after the accident, while Vanessa remained in the intensive care unit in a medically-induced coma for a month.

The little girl suffered from injuries to her brain, a broken jaw and nose, a cut on her ear and scars on her face. Doctors had placed a tube in her windpipe to help her breathe and wired her jaw shut.

Vanessa was released from Norton Children’s Hospital three weeks ago and transferred to Frazier Rehab Center the first week of December. She still faces a long recovery and will have a nurse visit her home daily to help.

“She still has PICC line in, they just took her tracheotomy out. She will still have to have antibiotics,” Johnson said. “She still has to see an eye doctor and an orthodontist.”

The driver of the SUV – Christopher James Johnson – told police he swerved around the bus and onto the sidewalk to avoid hitting it, the vehicle ending up on the front lawn of a neighboring house. Police have charged the 36-year-old man, who is not related to Lakeisha Johnson, with not having proof of insurance or vehicle registration.

Records obtained by WDRB show that Christopher Johnson has been charged in the past with the same infractions, including failure to maintain insurance a half dozen times since 2010. His next court date is Thursday.

The families say the crash has placed a huge financial burden on them. Even with some insurance, they say the medical bills covering the hospital care, physical therapy and prescriptions have been steep.

Shortly after the accident, two GoFundMe accounts were set up to help the families. Thousands of dollars have been donated to funds:

Schmicka and Phillip Neal Jr., parents of Phillip Neal III, and Johnson said they have been overwhelmed with the support of the community.

“It’s a very warm feeling…when something happens the community does pull through,” Johnson said. “Everything is not all bad, there is a whole lot of good.”

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Three students hospitalized after being hit by SUV while waiting to board JCPS bus 

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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