Girl Still Recovering After January School Bus Crash

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It was January 24th when Joli Collett says her life changed forever.

"This is every parent's nightmare, come to visit my family."

She had gotten a call from her 16-year-old daughter, Haille, to come to Willow Ridge Elementary in Grand Ledge.

When Collett got there, she realized Haille, who was driving her car and her other daughter, 13-year-old Brielle, had been in an accident with a school bus. Both were already on their way to the hospital.

Mike Franco and Lieutenant Colonel John Wojcik, however, saw the whole thing happen. While many people were tending to the bus, they quickly ran to the car.

"The driver's side looked fine and so I went to the passenger side of the vehicle," said Wojcik. "It was essentially folded in half. It looked like a giant had squished it."

"I thought I was watching two people who were pretty seriously hurt," said Franco.

Together, they got Haille out of the car, but Brielle was pinned inside. After seeing her seat belt was restricting her breathing, they cut it off and waited for an ambulance.

At Sparrow Hospital, both were treated for their injuries. Haille was in the hospital for several days with a concussion and spleen laceration. She is now out and back to school. However, Brielle needed an emergency, six-hour surgery.

"She's had multiple fractures and internal injuries," said Collett. "She's made it through all of the procedures, so far."

Brielle is still in the hospital and currently in a coma. Her condition is stable, but critical.

"Getting her off the ventilator is the first step, waking her up is the next step," said Collett.

Both of Brielle's parents have been by her side every day since the accident. Haille, who has been greatly affected by the accident, has been extremely helpful.

Brielle's status remains day-to-day, but Collett says little things, like squeezing her hands and moving her feet have given the family hope.

"I so want her to open her eyes and recognize me again," said Collett.

Joli Collett says she intends to thank Wojcik, Franco and anyone else involved in the rescue of her daughters, personally.

A fund has been set up at the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union in Brielle's name. The Collett Family Fund will help cover medical costs. Anyone wishing to help can do so by going to MSUFCU and donating to the fund.


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  • by Sarah Location: Location on Feb 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM
    Yes, just because insurance pays for a portion of the medical bills does not even begin to satisfy the day to day living this girl may have to become accustomed to. She may need medical supplies and lifetime rehabilitation. Not to mention if she doesn't need in home nursing care and isn't able to walk or feed herself after this is all over. Use your brains. The need for money does not stop at the hospital. Shes a young girl with a long life ahead of her, she may need the help for decades. Or she may walk away fine. Either way, there is a need.
  • by J on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM
    BG- They are collecting money to pay for medical costs, exactly what it says. No fault insurance will pay for a PORTION of your medical bills, not all of them. Next time, do your research. Also, if you read another story like this, try focusing on the family, the little girl in a coma, the tragedy at hand and less about something you know very little about.
  • by ANGEL Location: GRAND LEDGE MICHIGAN on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:17 AM
    WHAT A TERRIBLE THING TO HAPPEN TO THESE POOR GIRLS. WAS THE BUS GOING TO FAST?? WE ARE PRAYING DAILY FOR BRIELLE TO WAKE UP!!!
  • by Another mom Location: Lansing on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM
    If Nixon Road was so icy that morning, then perhaps it wasn't the place for a 16-year-old inexperienced driver to be, especially with a passenger in the car.
  • by BG Location: Lansing on Feb 7, 2013 at 06:16 AM
    Why do they need to collect money for medical costs? No Fault Insurance is for this very reason!! The Insurance company is responsible to cover all these medical needs from the date of the accident tell the injured is no longer needing the care or no longer living. I no this from experience as my child was also in a car accident and my insurance covers everything 100%
  • by janeen sanchez Location: grand ledge on Feb 7, 2013 at 05:31 AM
    Just sick about this accident. Nixon Road is often in very poor condition, with TWO schools on it. That morning, it was extremely icy, and difficult to navigate at all. It makes me mad that both the road commission and the school district dropped the ball so badly that morning. A two hour delay would have done wonders!
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