Girls recovering after accident
By Patrick Yost
A typical day for Anaiah Rucker, 9, began with breakfast, her grandmother Angeline Davis says.
Rucker would always make sure her younger sister, Camry Harden, 5, had her cereal before school. On school nightsAnaiah, a straight-A student at Morgan County Elementary School, would help her younger sister with homework.
“Whatever Camry needed, Anaiah would do it,” Davis says.
On Friday that same protective instinct may have saved Camry’s life.
At 7 a.m. Anaiah and Camry were both struck by a pickup truck just outside their North Main Street home as they were running to cross the street to catch a school bus. Georgia State Patrol Senior Trooper Brad Walker said a 1987 GMC pickup truck driven by Terry Walker, 47, Madison, struck the two girls. Trooper Walker says there were no contributing factors on the driver’s part in the accident and that the driver would face no charges.
According to Davis, Anaiah was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that may have obscured her vision. The truck was traveling north on North Main Street in wet conditions.
Anaiah’s mother, Andrea Taylor, was standing on the front porch watching the girls when the accident occurred.
Davis says Anaiah sensed the truck coming and shielded Camry from taking the blow. “She is very protective of Camry. She turned to block Camry. There is no way Camry could have withstood the injuries.”
Camry was saved serious injury, Davis says.
Anaiah was not.
The 9-year-old initially was not breathing after being struck, Davis says. Loretta Berriman, a school bus driver travelling south on North Main Street observed the impact and stopped her bus and started CPR on Anaiah. “She just stepped right in an started CPR,” Davis says. Taylor, who is six months pregnant, was in shock,” Davis says. “She doesn’t know what she would have done if (Berriman) wasn’t there to help.” Berriman told Trooper Walker when she came on the scene she saw the two girls prostrate on the road. Trooper Walker says Berriman reached Anaiah but there was no pulse and the 9-year-old was not breathing. The bus driver started CPR, Trooper Walker says, and Anaiah took a breath “and she felt a heart beat.”
Anaiah and Camry were both transported to Athens Regional Hospital and Anaiah was then transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Egleston) in Atlanta. Surgeons worked on Anaiah from 1 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Davis says, to try and save a shattered left leg.
On Saturday the leg was amputated. The brute force of the accident also broke Anaiah’s right leg, fractured her neck, damaged her spleen and destroyed one kidney. Currently, Davis says, Anaiah is communicating with relatives and hospital personnel with eye blinks and is on a ventilator. She was scheduled for more surgery on Tuesday to repair her fractured neck, Davis says.
Anaiah briefly gained consciousness on Friday. “She said one thing,” Davis says. “Am I going to chorus today?”
Anaiah is active with the Boys and Girls Club in Madison and was named queen of Sweet Home Baptist Church, an honor she enjoyed and took seriously, her grandmother says. As reigning queen, she was asked to give remarks during special services and often was given a seat near the pastor. “She loves to talk,” Davis says.
Anaiah also helped teach younger church members Bible study on Wednesday night at the church.
Camry was released from Athens Regional on Friday and is home, missing her older sister.
Davis said Camry, a kindergarten student at Morgan County Primary School, asked her on Monday, “who’s gonna help me with my cereal?”
“I told her now you’ll have to help Anaiah a little bit.”
Davis said doctors at Egleston have indicated that Anaiah will make a recovery but will be hospitalized for approximately one month. After that, she says, Anaiah will continue healing for approximately four months before she starts an intense rehabilitation regimen that will help her learn to walk with a prosthetic leg.
A fund in Anaiah Rucker’s name has been established at Madison’s United Bank to help the child with medical expenses.
Printed in the February 10, 2011 edition