GARLAND (CBSFDW) – After nearly three weeks in the trauma center, 18-year-old Natalia Estrada is leaving. Today she moves to an in-patient rehab facility to start physical therapy.
“She’s thankful to be moving since activity is restricted in the trauma unit,” says family friend Brandy Gonzales. “She’s happy that now she doesn’t have to be in a box, as she calls it.”
Natalia was rushed to the hospital on January 9, after a driver in a gray truck ran her over near the campus of Garland High School. Witnesses say the truck backed up and drove away without offering help. Natalia continues to fight pneumonia and a blood infection while she recovers from several surgeries. The hit and run left her with multiple broken bones and damaged internal organs.
“She’s still in a lot of pain,” says Gonzales.
Natalia, a senior at Garland High, was given a break from classwork so she could start the healing process. Now that she’s in the rehab facility, it’s back to the books.
“Once she’s settled, she’ll have her homework as well as a tutor,” says Gonzales. “The school has been so gracious in allowing her to take this time off to heal.”
Access to Natalia’s hospital room has been limited while she’s undergone surgeries. However, a Facebook page gives updates on her condition and allows her to communicate with her fellow classmates. They leave well-wishes there often, and it never fails to cheer Natalia up.
“Any of them can check on her that way,” says Gonzales. “She’s on that Facebook page all the time.”
Natalia’s family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.
“We’re so thankful to anyone that donates,” says Gonzales. “We know this is a long road ahead for her, and we’re grateful for any amount that could be raised.”
If Natalia continues to make progress, she could be released from the facility and back home again in six to eight weeks.
Garland police have no new information on the hit and run driver, but continue to search through surveillance video in hopes of catching an image.
“We’re just hoping that someone will remember something, and come forward with it,” says Gonzales.
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