A 15-year-old Santana student critically injured in a on State Route 52 last week awakened today from the coma she had been in for five days.
Charlotte McQuillen of Santee began responding to her parents at Sharp Memorial Hospital this morning, squeezing their hands, puckering her lips for kisses and making a peace sign with her hand at their request, family spokesman Ashi Fachler said.
The student's mother, Kathee Glynn, said her daughter also said "hi" to her in a very faint voice, according to Fachler.
The family representative described their reaction as "ecstatic."
"Her father said it was like having her born all over again," he said. "We are beside ourselves, of course. However, we are cautiously optimistic at this point. ... She still has a very long road ahead."
When asked if she knew how long she had been in the hospital, the girl shrugged her shoulders, Fachler said.
Charlotte was a front-seat passenger in an eastbound Volkswagen Passat whose 16-year-old driver lost control of the car at high speed near Convoy Street while he was driving her and three other Santee teens home from a beach party at La Jolla Shores about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The boy was racing another teen who was behind the wheel of a Volvo S40 sedan when the Volkswagen skidded out of control at 100 to 110 mph, careened into a center divider, struck a bridge pillar and flipped end over end, CHP public-affairs Officer Art Athans said.
Two back-seat passengers in the Passat, 16-year-old Jayli Campbell and 18-year-old Anthony Foreman, were ejected from the vehicle and killed. It appeared that neither had been wearing seat belts, Athans said.
The driver of the Volkswagen -- who was later found to be sober -- sustained moderate to major injuries in the crash, and another back-seat passenger, a 17-year-old boy, sustained severe trauma, according to the CHP. Charlotte sustained major head injuries, Athans said.
The Volvo did not crash, and none of the three people in the sdean was injured. However, the driver, 18-year-old Michael S. Johnson of Lakeside, was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of marijuana and taking part in a speed contest resulting in injuries, Athans said.
Johnson posted bail the following day and was released from custody.
It was unclear if the boy who had been driving the Volkswagen also will be charged for his role in the deadly accident. His name has been withheld because he is a minor who might face prosecution.
-City News Service