WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- More than a week after she was injured in a hit-and-run, a Surry County 18-year-old remains in critical condition. Now, her parents are speaking out for the first time.
“She’s a fighter for her friends and we’ve gotta be a fighter for her now,” said Michael Rosenhauer, the teen’s stepfather. “She’s gonna win this one.”
Deputies say 18-year-old Elyssa Jones was hit by a vehicle in Pinnacle on the morning of Sept. 19.
In a picture too graphic to show on television or online, Elyssa is seen inside Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with a tube in her mouth, a brace on her neck, her head and legs wrapped and both of her eyes bruised.
Her parents say her condition has not improved or worsened since she’s been in the hospital, but they haven’t spoken to her since the incident occurred. They say Elyssa has several fractures throughout her body, but her severe brain injuries are their main focus.
“Devastating. Horrific,” Rosenhauer said, detailing a phone call from Elyssa’s friends minutes after she was hit. “When you hear your daughter fighting for her life on the phone, you’re helpless. Nothing you can do. So, we got here as quick as we could and if it wasn’t for her friends that night, she probably wouldn’t be here.”
Rosenhauer described Elyssa as a fighter, a four-year soccer player at East Surry High School and an avid kayaker.
“She [doesn’t] have friends,” he said. “She has family.”
Some of Elyssa’s friends and classmates have started creating T-shirts for Elyssa, with the hashtag #ElyssasFight on the front and Matthew 18:19 on the back.
“The quick thinking of the ones that were still there when they found her, they probably saved her life,” Rosenhauer said. “The quick thinking of the doctors when they got here, they probably saved her life. Even though she’s out here fighting day by day, this is the fight of her life.”
Deputies charged 22-year-old Julian Rawley with felony hit-and-run causing serious injury. Rawley posted his $25,000 secured bond and is due in court in November, according to an online database.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s unbearable,” Rosenhauer said. “We wouldn’t get through it if it wasn’t for the friends and the family we got here.”