Brooke Loredo stands smiling on the bridge where she almost lost her life last year. Her twin sister and kids encourage her to pose as she juts a hip out for the camera. She wasn’t always sure she would be able to stand again, much less play with her kids or go for a walk.
About a year ago, on March 1, 2011, emergency responders rushed to that very spot. She had been driving a friend home over to Caledonia and traveling along the Hwy 12 East Bridge just North of Sand Road. It was just past 6:30 a.m. When a truck headed South on Hwy 12 veered into Loredo’s lane and they crashed head-on. The front of Loredo’s car, a red Chevy Malibu was crushed. The other car, a Ford Ranger driven by Jordy Jaynes had severe damage to the front, but Jaynes was able to be removed from the car fairly easily. He was transported to an ambulance while his car, which was consumed by fire, was extinguished.
Loredo however was trapped. When Jaynes’ truck hit her, it spun 180 degrees and struck the concrete wall of the bridge. Loredo’s car jackknifed 90 degrees and struck the other side of the bridge, again, head-on. The front driver’s side of her car sustained such damage that it caused the firewall and dashboard components into Loredo. She was cut from the car carefully with multiple Jaws of Life. The roof was cut off and the windows broken out of the car, while Loredo stayed inside for almost a half-hour while rescue crews attempted to reach her.
Loredo was placed on a gurney and into an ambulance. She was rushed to meet the Care Flight helicopter at the large grass field in front of Immanuel Christian School. She was flown to Tupelo in critical condition, suffering a broken pelvis and severe cuts to her legs. Medics struggled to keep her alive in the helicopter.
Because of the crushed pelvis and deep trauma to her legs, Loredo was not expected to ever walk again even if she managed to survive. He left lung collapsed in the hospital. Her left arm was broken so badly she had to have a metal rod inserted in the upper forearm. Her left leg had every single bone, including her toes, was broken. Two more metal rods were inserted.
The emergency break went through her left leg. Skin and tissue from her upper thigh was grafted for that injury. She was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks.
During her coma, a large number of blood transfusions took place and she was filled with fluids. When she awoke, she weighed nearly 300 lbs. Even after intensive therapy and nearly 10 months of being bed ridden, she suffers memory loss.
“There were numerous surgeries that I don’t remember,” said Loredo. “They cut me open to put a pump in my pelvis because it’s the most hollow void in the body. I had external fixators (bars) screwed into my pelvis for three months and had 38 stitches in my good leg.”
The 22-year-old Loredo was in a hospital bed for about nine months, three of those she was wheelchair bound.
“I’ve been able to walk for about four months now. First I could only walk in seven cm heels, but now I’ve decreased to three cm wedges and am getting a little better everyday.”
She says the hardest part of the accident and the aftermath of it was that she wasn’t well enough to have her kids live with her.
“I’m so thankful to be getting well enough to have my kids living with me and my life getting back to normal,” she said. “I’m not completely independent yet, but I have an amazing support system.”
Her children, Jonathan (7), Aleigha (5), and Eli (2.5-years-old) couldn’t be more thrilled to have their mom back home. Loredo described her family situation as akin to “a chicken with it’s head cut off” while they were all trying to figure out how to respond and what to do.
She says the accident isn’t completely behind her. She still attends therapy, and she still has problems moving in the morning and with stiffness. “I still have months of therapy to go, maybe years, for me to be completely recovered, but I’m not giving up.
“I know now since the wreck that life can be taken in a second. So I want to be a better person and mom to my three wonderful kids. They are my world and keep me going everyday.”
Loredo said that she would not have been able to recover and get her kids back without the love and help of her friends and family. “My dad, Stephen A. Hall; twin sister, Britney Hall; father of my youngest child, Jesus Briseno, Jose Aguilar and his family are all such a great support system. They took care of me when I was released from the hospital and took care of my children until I was able. I am very thankful for their support in my time of need. I love and appreciate them dearly.”
Loredo refuses to give into the thought that she will not fully recover. She is determined. “Nobody said it was going to be easy. You can lose yourself in the process,” she said. “My sense of humor has kept me going. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?”