A North Texas community is banding together to help a recent Midlothian Heritage High School graduate who suffered devastating injuries in a New Year’s Day crash.
Former homecoming queen, captain of her volleyball team and current Blinn College student, Rachel Richie is in intensive care at Methodist Dallas Medical Center following the crash.
The 19-year-old is showing signs of improvement including opening her eyes and moving her arms and legs but has a long road to recovery ahead of her.
Richie was home from college and was riding in a Jeep with her sister and a friend on January 1.
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Midlothian Police said the three were turning off Walnut Grove onto Highway 287 when the driver of a pickup ran a red light and t-boned the girls’ Jeep, injuring all three.
“You just don’t expect it. You always think it won’t happen to me,” said 18-year-old Olivia Richie who was driving.
Olivia’s sister, Rachel who was in the backseat, suffered the worst of the injuries and has undergone several surgeries.
Perhaps the most concerning wound is a severe brain injury.
“It’s the story you always hear: They had to walk and talk again. That’s where we’re at,” said her mother Stacie Richie.
Midlothian police say surveillance video from a nearby business confirmed the driver of the F150 ran a red light, leading to the accident.
The driver was traveling 53 miles-an-hour in a 55 mile-an-hour speed zone and was issued a citation.
Police also tell NBC 5 there are safety improvements being added, including an overpass at the intersection that has seen several crashes over the years.
As dozens of family and friends wait for word on Rachel’s condition at Methodist Dallas, hope has found its way in their time of need.
The community helped the Richie’s move out of their house days after the crash and made a surprising discovery.
“They found Rachel’s sketchbooks that I didn’t even know existed,” said her mom.
The young woman’s sketchbook is full of Bible verses and drawings including:
‘I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born’ - Isaiah 66:9
‘When I am afraid I will trust in you’ – Psalm 56:3
“We found this verse and it’s easy to be afraid in times like this but Rachel wrote this so we just thought it would be the perfect verse to put on a shirt,” said godsister Miranda Gaither. “And it’s in her handwriting which I think that’s so awesome.”
The $20 fundraising shirts are being sold in Midlothian to help pay the Richie girls’ medical bills.
The family would like Rachel to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility as soon as possible.
“Too many miracles have lined up to this point to save her life and too many people are praying for her and I’ve heard too many success stories not to have anything but hope,” said Stacie Richie.
The family has also set up a GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/f/raising-up-rachel