Kelley's long road to recovery continues

Kelley's long road to recovery continues
Kelley was in a coma for a month after the accident. (Source: Family)
Kelley was in a coma for a month after the accident. (Source: Family)
Kelley and her husband Jeff (Source: Family)
Kelley and her husband Jeff (Source: Family)

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Six months after a nearly fatal, head-on collision, a Bossier Parish woman continues her long recovery at a Dallas rehabilitation facility.

The crash happened Labor Day weekend on September 4, 2016 when Kelley Wyatt was headed home north on Airline Drive and an alleged drunk driver crashed into her car.

"A traumatic brain injury disrupts everything about your life," explains Dr. Randi Dubiel, who treated Kelley Wyatt at Baylor Rehabilitation - Dallas. "It's your control center. It drives your emotions, your thoughts."

Dr. Dubiel says Kelley's crash impacted nearly every aspect of her life, from talking, walking to basic everyday decision making.

"It really doesn't leave anything untouched," said Dr. Dubiel, although she calls Kelley's improvement so far, amazing.

"Not only did she have a traumatic brain injury," said Kelley's husband Jeff. "She's had 7 surgeries to her left leg, multiple burn surgeries, multiple neurological procedures, and her whole left arm completely rebuilt."

It was late in the day when the crash happened on Airline Drive.

"We heard this horrific noise," remembers Lynne Young. "We jumped up and looked out the back door."

Lynne and her husband Brian were sitting in their living room when they heard what Brian described as 'an explosion'. From their living room window, they have a perfect view of Airline Drive.

"It was smashed, to say the least," said Lynne, a certified paramedic who teaches basic EMT courses at Bossier Parish Community College.

Lynne jumped in her car and drove the two blocks to the accident scene.

"I went over and I could see a person in there and I immediately checked for a pulse," said Lynne. "And I didn't have one."

Lynne says Kelley Wyatt was pinned with what seemed like part of the car pressed against her chest.

As she checked the rest of the car for passengers, Lynne said a man walked up to Kelley's crushed car and also checked Kelley to see if she was breathing. "I remember asking him, do you have a pulse, and he said 'Yes'."

Knowing there was little she could do at this point, Lynne says she walked back over to Kelley, leaned down, and started telling her, "Ma'am, they're on their way. You have to hold on."

Within minutes, Bossier City firefighters from station 9 arrived and begun working to free Kelley.

"When they got her out and put her on the stretcher, I didn't think she was still alive," said Lynne.

Although they didn't realize it at the time, but many of the responding firefighters actually knew the driver.

"The guys on scene have traveled with us, been friends, close friends," said Jeff, who says because of injuries to her head, none of the first responders recognized that the victim was his wife. Jeff Wyatt is a retired Bossier City firefighter and was a member of BCFD for 18 years.

"I love my firemen. I've always been there for my firemen," Jeff said. "This time they were there for me. I really appreciate it."

During Kelley's stay in Dallas at Baylor Rehab hospital and now The Centre for Neuro Skills, friends and their church have been raising money to help the Wyatts during this time. Cypress Baptist Church in Benton recently held a hamburger fundraiser and friends have set up a GoFundMe account.

Kelley, who is now able to talk with some difficulty, is humbled by the outpouring of help.

"I'm so thankful," said Kelley. "There have been a lot of prayers said for me. And I appreciate it so much."

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