Surry County 18-year-old nearly killed in hit-and-run returns home

ARARAT, N.C. -- More than 70 days after she was nearly killed after being run over, a Surry County 18-year-old is back at home after walking out of a Charlotte hospital on Wednesday.

In September, Elyssa Jones was seriously injured in a hit-and-run in Pinnacle. Pictures of Jones in the hospital showed her with tubes in her body, bloodied cloths around her head, broken bones and bruised eyes.

Some of the pictures were too graphic to show.

“Us going back and looking at it really hits home,” said Jones’ stepfather, Michael Rosenhauer, of the photos.

After spending about a month at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Jones was moved to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

“For two weeks the doctors told us she wouldn’t make it. A good possibility she wouldn’t make it. We had to be prepared,” Rosenhauer said, of her first weeks in the hospital.

At Levine Children’s Hospital, Jones gradually began to sit up, then stand and eventually walk.

“Was it amazing walking out yesterday?” Rosenhauer asked Jones, about leaving the hospital. “70 days since she saw sunlight.”

Jones was greeted by a large group of friends and family on Wednesday.

On Thursday, she sat in her parent’s living room alongside her stepfather. Although Jones still has trouble talking, she is able to say some sentences.

Sentences her parents had been waiting months to hear.

“Hey, I love you,” Rosenhauer said to Jones, to which she responded, “I love you too.”

“That means the world right there,” he said. “Being able to say that back to me.”

Jones has a long road ahead of her. Part of her skull is yet to be reattached. She will have therapy four times a week. But, her recovery -- as her parents describe as a miracle -- is already rapidly progressing.

“You think 70 days isn’t a long time,” Rosenhauer said. “To us, that 70 days was eternity.”

The man accused of running Jones over, 22-year-old Julian Leon Rowley II, is due in court on December 11 for a charge of felony hit-and-run with a serious injury.

Alyssa Marie Flanagan, 17, of Ararat; Cassidy Elliot Thomas, 18, of Mount Airy; Daniel Patrick Booze, 18, of Pilot Mountain; and Justin Antonio Hatcher, 29, of Stuart, Virginia, were also arrested in connection and charged with felony passenger flee accident scene injury/death.

Still, after everything that has happened, Rosenhauer says the family will eventually start to forgive.

“And move on,” he said. “It’s gonna be rough, but we’re here. We’re standing strong.”