Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
North Texas mother Nina Cherry was carjacked outside of her children's school one year ago. After 19 surgeries and eight months in the hospital, her next goal is learning to walk again on her own.
A North Texas mother who spent eight months in the hospital after she was attacked outside her children's school says she never saw the crime coming.
"I was sitting in my car, the window down, the radio playing," Nina Cherry recalled in an interview Tuesday -- exactly one year after she was carjacked and dragged across the parking lot at Pantego Christian Academy.
She was waiting for her son, Ryan, to finish football practice when a man suddenly approached.
"All I remember is him opening the door, and I looked at his face, and I knew. I screamed, 'No,' and tried to kick him," she said.
He dragged Cherry out and sped off, but she was caught in the door, she said.
"He dragged me for 30 to 40 yards and then it released," she said. "And when it released, I got run over."
Cherry hit her head. Her pelvis was crushed. Her skin was so scraped, she would need several skin grafts and still needs to sit on a special cushion and sleep on a special mattress.
She was in the hospital from May 7 to Jan. 16 -- eight months -- and underwent 19 surgeries.
"It's so strange, because I feel like I have a whole year taken out of my life," she said.
Benjamin Rowell, 33, was arrested after a police chase. He remains in jail on $207,500 bond. His next trial date is June 3.
Cherry said she is not bitter and does not judge him.
"I want to focus my energy on making my life better," she said.
Cherry said she is grateful for the support of family, friends and even strangers. Anonymous donors contributed money for her medical bills.
Her husband, Mike, and teenage twins have stood by her through the ordeal.
"Nobody deserves what has happened to her," Mike Cherry said. "Our goal is to get her off the walker."
Meanwhile, she has made huge progress.
She can now take steps with the help of a walker.
Her next challenge is to learn to walk again on her own and return to work as a pharmacist.
"I'm more appreciative of the things I have in my life," she said.