PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — A 14-year-old student is in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle at North Paulding High School on Tuesday.
According to the Georgia State Patrol, Kendall Elise Thomas was using a crosswalk on campus when she was struck by a vehicle traveling down an access road in the school parking lot.
"From my understanding, Kendall was walking towards the field house and in order to get to the field house from the school, there is a side street," explained the girl's mother, Shanna Thomas.
Shanna explained that a bus had stopped for Kendall at a cross walk; however, the bus evidently blocked Kendall's view of an oncoming car that was on the other side.
"When Kendall stopped and looked, it was too late. Kendall got hit by the car. She went up and landed on her head."
Kendall Elise Thomas | Gallery
"Right now, Kendall has not gained any consciousness since the accident. She's had two brain surgeries. She still has swelling on the brain. They're monitoring her brain activity. So, the first 24 hours is very critical at this moment," Shanna added.
She explained that the next expected course of action is to scan Kendall's spine and chest, to make sure there are no injuries to those areas of the body.
To make matters more challenging, Shanna has not been able to visit her daughter in the hospital after testing positive for COVID. Her husband, Kendall's father, has had to stay at the hospital around the clock.
"Once I get retested and know for sure, I'm in the clear. Then me and her dad will switch places so that I can be closer to her and then going to the hospital, sitting outside," she explained. "I sat outside during the first two surgeries until she got to ICU and I'm going back. Just to check up on it, just so I can feel her closeness."
Shanna added that the family has set up a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses but noted that she was touched to learn students at North Paulding High had set up their own donation page to pitch in.
"Initially, we thought it was fake, but come to find out some students at North Paulding felt led to just do something for Kendall," Shanna said.
Kendall herself played football for the high school and was described as popular among her classmates.
"We want the students to continue to do what they're doing because I don't want to take anything away from the students. This is a way to help them cope with everything," Shanna said.
As of yet, authorities have not said if anyone will be facing charges for the accident. Shanna mentioned that all she knows about the driver was that she was a young woman and was "very shaken up."
The Georgia State Patrol said it is still conducting a follow-up investigation.
For now though, Shanna said she is thankful for the community and the outpouring of support from Cobb County, Paulding County, the students of North Paulding High, and her local church; Chapel A.M.E. Church. She remarked, "we just ask for your continued prayers."