Daisy Perez-Mendoza was heading to wrestling practice when she left her Pasco home nearly three weeks ago.
Her mother, Rosa Perez, watched her drive away, only to hear sirens minutes later.
The 16-year-old was just a half mile from home when she pulled in front of another car on Highway 12.
The Chiawana athlete remains in an intensive care unit in Seattle, struggling to recover from serious injuries. , Saturday night, members of the Chiawana Athletic Booster Club and the leadership class plan a fundraiser to help her family.
Her mother is still searching for answers to what happened Nov. 28.
“Everything was so fast,” Rosa Perez said by phone from Seattle. “We’re still trying to get our heads wrapped around everything. There are times when I feel like it’s just a nightmare and I’m going to wake up and everything is going to be fine.”
The Washington State Patrol said Daisy was driving her mom’s Honda Accord when she drove into the path of a Toyota Corolla headed east on the highway.
Soon after, two state troopers knocked on Perez’s door with the news her daughter was at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richand.
Doctors already had inserted a breathing tube into the Daisy’s throat and were planning to transfer her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Daisy suffered a broken pelvis, injuries to a kidney and lung and a skull fracture, causing a brain injury. The other driver, Pablo Ayala-Flores, 22, was not hurt.
Everything was so fast. We’re still trying to get our heads wrapped around everything. There are times when I feel like it’s just a nightmare and I’m going to wake up and everything is going to be fine.
Rosa Perez, Daisy’s mother
Just this week, Daisy regained consciousness and is breathing on her own, but she can’t do much else after spending more than two weeks in Harborview’s Intensive Care Unit.
“She opens her eyes. She can move her extremities. She will respond to some simple commands at times. ... She started to move her eyes at times,” Rosa Perez said. “There are times when she will respond and there are times when we don’t get anything back.”
Her daughter’s current condition is a far cry from the dynamic junior who was a member of the girl’s wrestling team, a volleyball player and a Columbia Basin College Running Start student.
“It’s been very overwhelming,” Rosa Perez said. “It’s hard to see her in the condition she’s in right now. ... She’s always had goals and things she wanted to accomplished. She was going to be the first one in the family to get to go to college. We’ve always been very proud of her.”
She believes in her daughter’s strength and ability to recover, and is staying positive as she waits with her husband in Seattle for her daughter to recover.
Meanwhile the rest of their lives are on hold, Daisy’s father works in a dairy and her mother works for Chaplaincy Health Care. Neither is able to work at the moment. Their other two children remain in Pasco with a grandmother.
They are trying to keep the two children 11 and 13 on a normal routine.
It’s been very overwhelming. It’s hard to see her in the condition she’s in right now. ... She’s always had goals and things she wanted to accomplished.
Rosa Perez, Daisy’s mother
Some Chiawana students are trying to help Daisy’s family as she recovers.
The leadership class and the booster club are organizing a silent auction for the basketball doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. and lasting until half time of the boy’s game at Chiawana High School, at 8125 W. Argent Road.
Sarah LeDuc, the leadership teacher, said they have more than 30 items for the auction.
For people not able to attend the games, a GoFundMe site was set up in Daisy’s name to accept donations.
Rosa Perez said what she wants most are prayers.
“I’ve received a lot of love from all of our community,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to know there are so many people that care about her.”