My husband’s phone rang early Tuesday morning, October 25, minutes after Lilly walked out the door. A bystander called and said, “Are you Lilly Warren’s dad? She was just hit by a car, she’s hurt, you need to come”. Within seconds, his phone rang multiple times. People were trying to relay the seriousness of the situation. I threw on my shoes and ran the two blocks up the street to the scene of the accident. When we arrived, they were looking for a pulse. She was covered in blood and non-responsive.
She had been hit by a truck, landing 80 feet away while using the crosswalk. Her heart had stopped and she was not breathing. A few good Samaritans, including the driver, began performing CPR and other lifesaving efforts to bring Lilly back.
As I rode in the ambulance with her, I could hear the rush and panic of the EMT’s trying to keep her stable on our way to UVRMC.
Anxiously waiting for answers, they allowed us to see her after cleaning her up. She had little to no road rash, every ﬁngernail and eyelash was in place, things looked promising. Later we found she had severe head trauma, numerous broken bones, severed carotid arteries, a shattered pelvis and broken back. They performed multiple scans and surgery to relieve pressure on Lilly’s brain. Again, things looked promising. Early the next morning, the doctor told us Lilly had a five to 10 percent chance of survivability, and if so, she would be severely disabled.
We were able to bring our family together to say goodbye to Lilly. Along with her friends, classmates and our community, hundreds of people came to the ICU room to pay Lilly their respects. We were grateful for the time we had with her that gave some sense of closure.
Lilly was one-of-a-kind to say the least. She was passionate and daring enough to try anything. From high school wrestling to running heavy equipment with her dad, she ﬂew an airplane, rode stand-up jet skis, and wanted to skydive at five years old.
Lilly’s creations were impressive, from putting countless sharpie tattoos on her brothers and friends, to traditional artwork with watercolors and welding projects that her teachers displayed on the “Table of Champions.”
She was strong and ﬁerce! She loved old music, baseball caps, had awesome lashes and ﬁngernails and wore cowboy boots and belt buckles, although she did not own a horse. She loved “Dr Pepper” but only if poured correctly from a fountain and had an endless list of movie quotes and Simpsons one liners. She drove more miles in her dad’s cobra and on motorcycles with her mother to work at La Casita than any other girl with no driver license and only a learner permit. She lived two lifetimes in her short years.
When we had taken her to get her learner permit, without a blink, she checked the organ donation box. We knew we needed to honor her wishes and donate her organs to give others a second chance at life.
Accidents happen in this world every day. It is what you choose to do in the seconds, minutes, days and even years after that accident that matters. There are consequences for those actions whether they were done with or without intent.
For us, by forgiving the driver and getting to know him and his family, it has brought some sense of peace so that our families can continue to heal with each other and continue to honor Lilly.