Lincoln teens injured in Memorial Day cruise making strides in recovery
To help them pay for medical bills, local car clubs are hosting Labor Day cruise, GoFundMe and silent auction in their honor
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On May 31, 2022 Hannah Wadiso and Aaron Swanson’s lives changed.
“We were just looking at cars because I thought it’d be a fun thing to do after my graduation party,” Wadiso said.
She and Swanson were sitting in the grass outside Barnes and Noble near 52nd and O, watching the annual “cruise” when 19-year-old Kyvell Stark, who police said was driving 90 miles per hour down O street, hit a car. The crash killed two women and left Wadiso and Swanson pinned under a vehicle.
“I don’t remember actually being hit,” Swanson said. “We do remember waking up after and like cars on fire.”
In three months, the teens have made a lot of strides. Wadiso, who had a broken pelvis is walking with a cane and able to drive. Swanson, who had broken ankles is wearing walking boots and using a walker to get around.
“I’ve been able to walk again and I never thought I could,” Wadiso said. “I never thought I’d be able to do this, I wouldn’t say it’s been easy but possible.”
Swanson said the healing has been slow and steady.
“We’re pretty close in our progress -- like every time something for her changes, it’s pretty much changed for me around the same time which is lucky, " Swanson said.
Wadiso was planning on starting college to pursue a career in nursing or cosmetology, but that’s now on hold. Swanson, who is a senior in high school can’t go to regular classes anymore. The one thing they do have, is each other.
“It gives us something to relate to or you know when we’re feeling a certain way about the situation or thinking about it knowing they were there also it makes it easier rather than it being one of us able to go out while the other is in the hospital,” Wadiso said.
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Now that they’re closer to being back on their feet, the same community that brought them out to O street that night, is coming together to help keep them moving forward. Car clubs, Midwest Rollers and Rebels Auto Club have started a GoFundMe, are planning a silent auction and most importantly a real cruise on Labor Day.
“That’s what we as car clubs do, we help each other and we help others,” Todd Francisco with Midwest Rollers said.
Jim McNeil, with Rebels Auto Club said they wanted to show the teens and the community what cruising is really about.
‘We’re going to obey the laws, we’ll stop at the stoplight when it turns red and go through town and show them how safe we are,” he said.
They’ll start with a car show at Detail Garage at 11 a.m., hit ‘O’ street at 3:15 p.m. and end with a car show benefitting Swanson and Wadiso at SCCA Racing in Airpark with Wadiso and Swanson, riding in style. Swanson picked a rare Mustang to ride in and Wadiso is hoping for a Lamborghini.
“Something pink,” Swanson said.
Their goal is to raise money to help pay the teens’ medical bills. A Gofundme has already raised more than $5,000.
“Just think about if this was your child and they were out there, it could have been anybody,” Francisco said. “So let’s just give back.”
The car clubs are also hoping to track down the people who helped save Swanson and Wadiso by lifting the car off of them that night to honor them. They ask that those who were there reach out through Midwest Rollers or Rebels Auto Club’s websites.
“If we could find these people and have them out there at the end of the cruise, they’d be very happy to see those people and thank them,” McNeil said.
The teenagers, said they’re thankful and hope the events will take some of the stress off their parents, and help them move on mentally, as well.
“I think it would help us maybe conquer some of the fear of going on ‘O’ Street and doing things involved with cars and car shows,’ Swanson said. “They’re definitely trying to show us the good side and the love of cars rather than what we experienced.”
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