Five-year-old Jazzlin Mejia, injured when her father’s car was struck by a suspected drunken driver on Highway 121 Oct. 29, remains in the intensive care unit at Oakland Children’s Hospital with spinal injuries that may leave her at least temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.
That was the prognosis reported by the girl’s aunt, Tatiani Vivas, of Sonoma, who said Thursday young Mejia is conscious and can move her arms, but has no feeling from the waist down.
Her father, Gustavo Mejia, 26, remains at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital recovering from major injuries, including two broken legs. Vivas said Gustavo Mejia has had surgery on both legs, has at least one more surgery scheduled, will have to undergo extensive rehabilitation and, Vivas added, will likely be unable to work for “more than a year.”
Jazzlin Mejia, a kindergarten student at the Mary Collins School in Petaluma’s Cherry Valley district, underwent spinal surgery last week to fuse shattered vertebrae and is expected to remain at the Oakland hospital for at least two months.
Her mother, Nannette Andrade, who is employed by a Sonoma optometrist, has not been able to work, said Vivas, due to the need to be near her daughter.
Fundraising efforts are underway to support the family, including an event at Cherry Valley today, Friday, and a trust fund account has been set up at Exchange Bank in the name of Jazzlin Mejia. Donations can also be made online via PayPal at jazzlinmejia.com, and to the Gustavo & Jazzlin Mejia Recovery Fund at giveforward.com.
A statement released by the family on Thursday stated, “Jazzy was admitted to Pediatric ICU in critical condition after a car accident with a drunk driver last week.
Her condition has since improved significantly (following surgery and outstanding care at Oakland Children’s Hospital), however recovery will be long, requiring multiple types of re-habilitation (medical, physical, psycho-social) as well as extensive efforts from all involved including Jazzy, family and friends. The family is so thankful and appreciative of everyone’s continued prayers and support.”
The Oct. 29 accident occurred at about 7 p.m. as Gustavo Mejia was returning from work in Marin County and collided with a Jaguar sedan driven by Damodar Chandradas, 25, of San Francisco, who lost control of the car, veering across the highway from shoulder to shoulder and into the path of Mejia’s 1994 Toyota Corolla.
A 26-year-old passenger in the Jaguar was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and Chandradas is being investigated is suspicion of drunk driving.
Identity of the victim and confirmation of the DUI was not yet available as of Thursday.