This is Kayla Stephensen. I’m sophomore class president at Bellbrook High School. I play soccer for the school and am one of those “hard workers” that isn’t super great at soccer. I mostly make up for it by sheer willpower and speed.
Travis, my dad, likes to follow every wild dream he can make up. He wanted to learn the guitar at age 40, and sometimes I walk in on him jamming out. Kasen, my brother, was valedictorian last year. He comes into my room singing, dancing and playing the ukulele.
My mom Katie likes to come sit on my bed, giggling and talking with me about boys like we’re both 16. We have this bond that is so much more than just best friends. Our talks easily translate into the car, since she used to drive me to all my activities. Once I got my permit I’d drive with her next to me.
After having my permit for a month, my mom was comfortable letting me drive to and from school, a five minute drive that I’ve taken countless times.
While I was driving home that day, her and her mom approached a stop sign at an intersection, and my mom yelled, "Kayla Stop!"
I realized that that car was pulling out right in front of us, they weren’t looking at us. I remember the impact, how it took my breath away we had run over some persons wire fence and narrowly missed a pole.
My mom had pulled the emergency and the airbag had deployed.
I vaguely heard my mom whisper, "Get out of the car Kayla."
Stepping out of the car, I looked around and wondered, Do I call 911? Where's the girl who hit us?
She had spun off the other side of the road, her car looked okay though. It was an SUV so it had kind of crushed our small Hyundai Elantra.
Mom was hurt in some way. I went around the car and she was buckled over on her hands and knees. I helped her up and we limped together to a nearby rock. Seeing people rush over from a nearby street, Mom whispered to me to get our backpacks and our phones and wallets out of the car. It smelled like smoke.
Some lady said she was a nurse and was asking my mom what was wrong. It got scarier and scarier the longer my mom still hadn’t caught her breath. I was terrified she would die. I didn’t want my mom to die.
She barely managed to tell me to call Kasen, my brother, and tell him what happened. Kasen remained calm, and drove over through the neighborhood with my grandma. I remember seeing my grandma run across the street to hug me, She’s not much of a runner, but that made me cry even more, and that made her move faster than I’d ever seen her move.
The ambulance arrived and placed my mom inside. She called me to the back with her. The lady in the back asked my mom how she would rate her pain. I heard her say, “Probably a 10.”
I remember certain people coming into visit us at the hospital. When dad got to the room, he was the first to ask me if I was okay. I hadn’t thought about it. My lip felt bruised. My collarbone hurt a little, likely from the seatbelt saving me from going through the front window.
The news came back that my mom broke her sternum.
The day after, my dad had me get in the car and drive. He told me that I could not let myself become too scared of driving to ever drive again. I got my license a couple weeks ago. I had to. I’m involved in too many sports and activities to keep asking others for a ride.
Kayla Stephensen is a student at Bellbrook High School. Special thanks to Katie Bills-Tenney. Learn more at the school's website: https://www.sugarcreek.k12.oh.us/Domain/40 Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.