Glenneisha Darkins, 19, abandoned the burning Monte Carlo with her friends in tow and Bible in her purse. She followed her friends to the ’99 GMC Yukon her group was trailing, completely unaware that her bad road trip was about to turn worse.
Nov. 24 was the date the first-year business administration student from Miami suffered multiple injuries to her lower spine, head and neck in a rollover crash.
The Florida Highway Patrol release reported Javis Pace, the Yukon’s driver, was driving recklessly when it flipped and rolled over four times. Darkins was asleep in the middle of the backseat.
As the car flipped, she flew from the backseat and through the front windshield of the SUV. The top of Darkins’ head split open and she plummeted onto the west shoulder of the interstate. She was immediately flown to Delray Medical Center in critical condition.
“There were eight of us, and I was sleeping. After that, I remember waking up in the hospital,” said Darkins.
Her mother, Angelic Harris, stayed with her for a month at Delray Medical Center. Jan. 3, Darkins was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for intensive rehabilitative therapy.
Darkins has a full schedule of therapeutic activities to repair and retrain her thoracic spine and deltoid-bicep cervical nerves at the Shepherd Center.
“She has Occupational therapy, Physical therapy, Muscle Shock therapy, Recreational therapy and she navigates working on the computer,” said Harris.
During Occupational therapy, Darkins’ therapist retrains her to perform daily living activities. Muscle shock therapy stimulates her muscles and stretches her arms and legs. In Physical therapy, she lies on an automatic stretcher, and it moves her in different directions to build up her back and spine muscles.
Darkins also plays the game Taboo to stimulate her memory.
“So far, I can move my shoulders and biceps [and] remember all the things I did at FAMU before the accident,” said Darkins.
Through the accident and therapy, Darkins remained positive.
“She smiled through it all and didn’t complain,” said Harris
LaShaya Pierce, 20, from Charlotte, N.C., said Darkins’ attitude has always been positive and cheerful. Pierce has kept in touch with her since the accident.
“She would always say random things that would make us laugh,” Pierce said about her former classmate and friend. “She is so humble and nice, and when she speaks, people listen. She always helps and gives advice, and when she can’t help herself, she’ll help you instead. She’s real, and the same whether she’s with you, or with anyone else.”
Alexandria Greene, 18, from Sacramento, Calif., said Darkins’ personality makes it easy to relate to her.
“We are really good friends, and we would always share inside jokes,” said Greene. “She is a fun person, and if you got into an argument with her it would never be serious. It really crushed my heart to see her walking the day before, and then the next day she was in an accident.”
Darkins also remains in contact with the driver of the Yukon, Javis Pace, who lives several floors above her in at the Shepherd Center.
“She’s a fighter and an athlete,” said Harris. “It was nobody but God who gave me my strength, and gave her strength.”
As she rebuilds her muscles and remembers life before the accident, Darkins said she is eager to recover and return to school.
The estimated recovery time for Darkins is one year. It depends on her progress with therapy at the center and at home.
“While she’s home, we’re going to try to get her into Florida International University or have her take online classes until she’s made her full recovery. She is now entering stage two of her recovery phase, which deals with more intensive therapy,” said Harris.
As she progresses and grows stronger each day, the accident and intensive therapy create an attitude of thanks within Darkins’ life. “I’m alive,” said Darkins.