Survivor of St. Francis pedestrian crash speaks about experience, creating change

She survived being hit in a pedestrian crosswalk in St. Francis, Minnesota just a few days before Thanksgiving. Now, the teen is talking about it.

Meanwhile, her best friend continues to struggle in intensive care.

Annie LaMotte and her parents admit it's bittersweet for her to be back home because her best friend still has a long road to recovery. But, knowing she suddenly has a voice on a very important safety issue, LaMotte is determined to be heard.

“I thought I was dreaming,” LaMotte said. “It was really weird.”

Moving around carefully on crutches with a healing broken pelvis, broken femur and road rash on her hands and forehead, LaMotte considers herself lucky to have only spent a week in the hospital.

She remembers everything about crossing Highway 47 at Pederson Drive with her best friend on their way back to their middle school up until the moment of impact. 

“I looked over and I just saw the red car and the headlights and I was hit,” she recalled. “And then I woke up on the road with a bunch of people around me.”

LaMotte remembers seeing her friend Kaia Bollman laying just a few feet away.

Now 10 days since the accident, Kaia remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at HCMC in much worse condition, but slowly improving.

This week she briefly opened her eyes and doctors have been testing how long she can handle breathing on her own.

“It’s sad seeing her not responsive,” LaMotte said.

“What if we don’t... didn’t come out alive,” she said. “That kinda thing that’s just something that is so scary to think about and how lucky we are to be alive.”

“We are so thankful for our daughter, but we are heartbroken,” said LaMotte’s father. “That Kaia is still in the situation she’s in,” added LaMotte’s mother.

Referring to Kaia as their "bonus daughter," LaMotte’s parents are focused on both girls getting better, but at the same time they are fiercely advocating for a walking bridge at the intersection where the girls were struck by a car. The girls were in the designated pedestrian crosswalk with lights flashing.

While they are all grateful to be surrounded by the love and well wishes for both girls, La Motte hopes that support also brings change.

“Nobody should have to go through what we are going through. Nobody deserves to be hit by a car while crossing a road they think is safe,” she said.

Saturday, LaMotte’s parents are organizing a rally starting at noon in the parking lot of County Market, near the intersection where the girls were hit. There, they will sing Christmas carols and speak about safety at the intersection.

The LaMottes are committed to making that area safer, especially for the many students going to and from the nearby middle school every day.

GoFundMe links: Support the LaMotte and Bollman families.