A 15-year-old girl who was hit by a car near Ashland High School Dec. 7 is using a walker to get around and will miss about a month of school.
Kailynn Cauley, a freshman athlete, sustained three fractured vertebrae in her lower back and sprained both ankles, her family said.
Cauley said she paused at the stoplight on the corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Morse Avenue around 8 a.m. on her way to school. She crossed the street after the walk sign turned on, but a woman didn’t stop and slammed into Cauley.
“I didn’t see her coming and I don’t think she saw me,” Cauley said. “She hit me and I kind of just flew.”
Cauley said she doesn’t remember much after being hit.
“It’s kind of scary and traumatizing because something so small can change a lot in your life, and I’m just hoping that it doesn’t affect me next season for volleyball,” Cauley said.
Cauley plays volleyball and soccer. Cauley’s mother, Amber Kirsch, said the doctor said her injuries may manifest themselves later in life, so she must be very careful, especially while playing sports.
The woman whose car hit Cauley was cited for failure to obey a traffic control device, Ashland Police Department Deputy Chief Warren Hensman said.
Cauley is in too much pain right now to start physical therapy, her mother said, so they’ll visit the doctor again in three weeks.
“Going from a social teenager who’s an athlete to stuck in bed all day and unable to do anything is rough,” Kirsch said.
Kirsch said Cauley has trouble sleeping at night and has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The family started a GoFundMe account to send her to counseling. The page can be seen at bit.ly/2PLIq0w. As of Saturday evening, it had raised $1,633 of a $10,000 goal.
Cauley said the crossing is on her usual route to school. Plus, there’s a bus stop near, so a lot of children cross the road there.
She said another high school girl was hit by a car on Siskiyou Boulevard a few months earlier during homecoming.
She said the school should think about putting a crossing guard there.
“They should do more to prevent anything like this from happening in the future,” Cauley said.
Statistics on Ashland vehicle accidents involving pedestrians or bicycles were not immediately available from APD. State statistics show there were six accidents involving pedestrians in Ashland in 2016, the most recent year for which data were available, and five in 2015. That’s out of a total of 156 and 167 accidents, respectively.
Cauley said a few staff members from the school have reached out. Kirsch said she’s disappointed that no one from the city, the police department or the school checked up on Cauley or extended their sympathies.
Kirsch said they tried to set up home tutoring through AHS, but was told tutors are not allowed to make home visits, she said. They’re supposed to meet in a public place.
“Her back’s broken, she can’t do that,” Kirsch said. “I haven’t had much help from AHS with all of this.”
School district Human Resources Director Laurie Rooper said that there was a miscommunication and the school has since connected a home tutor with the family.
Cauley’s stepfather, Ryan Kirsch, has had to postpone his police academy training and his work with the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department.
Kirsch works with special needs children at Talent Middle School and has had to take a month off of work to care for Cauley.
Kirsch said the family hired a lawyer to help untangle the web of insurance claims.
She said between the medical bills, counseling, lawyer bills and taking time off work, it’s been hard for the family of six.
A friend started a meal train account at bit.ly/2S8EmcR, which is a way for the community to schedule meals to be cooked and dropped off for the family.
Kirsch said local restaurants have donated food, including The Grotto Pizza in Talent, Aqua in Ashland and Masala Bistro and Bar.
“The owners of Masala personally drove the food out to us in Talent, even though they don’t deliver,” Kirsch said.
She said Loft Restaurant and Bar in Ashland has offered a free date night for her and her husband.
“The other day we were able to go grab a burger, and Kailynn was really craving one. It’s just the little things like that that mean so much right now,” Kirsch said.
She said any support from the community is appreciated.
“Just knowing the community is supporting us and thinking about her and loving her means so much,” Kirsch said.
“It’s really nice to know that people care,” Cauley said.