Hannah Roberson, 23, was leaving her class at Maypearl Primary School on Dec. 19 after hugging her pre-kindergarten students and telling them good-bye. She hopped into her car and onto the busy FM 66 to catch a friend in Waxahachie for lunch. Little did she know her life was about to change forever.
Roberson recalled the shock that overcame her when a southbound vehicle swerved into her lane and hit her head-on.
“It was very scary. I never lost consciousness. I could tell you what it sounds like, smells like, looks like, all of it,” the Arlington Baptist University graduate said. “I was screaming at first, just being very scared. I remember it smelled like burned rubber and gas. It was loud, hearing the tires screech.”
Firefighters, EMS and multiple law enforcement quickly arrived on the scene near Tumbleweed Drive, southwest of Waxahachie, just after 1 p.m. Roberson was extricated from her mangled car and transported by ambulance to Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
Road to recovery
Roberson suffered multiple broken bones and underwent four reconstructive surgeries over 12 days.
“My injuries included both legs having broken femurs - my left, I broke it in four places and my right I broke it in two completely different places,” she explained. “Shattered the patella on my right leg, shattered my elbow on the left arm and on my left arm my ulna bone wrapped around my radius, breaking that bone also.”
Doctors “added metal rod stabilizers in both my elbow and right leg where the patella was shattered…,” Roberson said. “They put a metal rod from my knee all the way to my hip to help heal and stabilize the femur fracture. The next surgery I had was on my elbow, Christmas Eve, where he went in, fixed where the ulna bone wrapped around the radius bone, placed 16 rods and screws to help stabilize where my elbow shattered… On [Dec.] 28th they went in for the final surgery to repair what was left of that patella. There was only about 40 percent that was repairable...”
“It just seemed like every time I would recover from a surgery, there was another surgery,” Roberson added.”
Roberson is currently at a rehab center in Arlington. While she is expected to make a full recovery; doctors say it would take six months. She sees physical and occupational therapists for at least three hours day, sometimes more.
“I’m just trying to get literally back on my feet. I can’t bare weight on any of my legs or my left arm,” the 23-year-old revealed. “That’s kind of challenging but the therapists here are absolutely incredible. I have met so many people between nurses and doctors and therapists.”
Roberson has maintained a positive attitude throughout her challenging ordeal because she knew it could have been much worse.
“I’m just amazed that I’m alive. God is so good. I didn’t sustain a brain injury or a spine injury or any kind of internal bleeding,” she rejoiced.
She also suffered no injuries to her face.
Roberson credits her husband and other family members, school district and First Baptist Church Maypearl, where she is a member, for their unwavering love and support. Many of them, including the school district superintendent and FBC pastors, visited her in the hospital to cheer her on and uplift her with words of encouragement.
“Nothing has been so challenging that I can’t handle it,” the brave survivor decided. “I’ve really been very reliant on God. I’ve really learned to just trust him and just be very reliant on his strength.”
Missing the classroom
Roberson FaceTimed with her class on Tuesday for the first time since the accident.
“It was the best conversation with all of them. They were so funny and so excited,” she chuckled. “Some of the things they said were hilarious and just so sweet. I miss them incredibly. I got off the phone and sobbed just because Imp not there with them and that breaks my heart.”
“Out of all the challenges that have come with this traumatic event, not getting to go back to work is by far the hardest,” said Roberson, who previously served the district as an art and special education paraprofessional.
Roberson plans to video chat with her students more often and even send them videos of her reading stories, “so they can see me and I can still be a part of their journey because I wont get to finish the [school term] with them and it’s heartbreaking,” she acknowledged.
Police said the driver who struck Roberson was identified as a 70-year-old woman from Waxahachie. She was reportedly traveling at 60 miles per hour, just five miles above the speed limit. She too suffered serious injuries.
The four-vehicle crash resulted in two other drivers and their passengers, including a 1-year-old and 12-year-old, being taken to hospital without serious injuries.
Roberson feels no ill will and holds no grudge toward the driver responsible.
“I’m really trying my best to handle this with grace and dignity,” she revealed. “It was just as scary for them too. It was truly an accident.”
Law enforcement reportedly stepped up its presence in the area, days following the incident, with a focus on traffic enforcement.
A bank account is set up at Maypearl’s Cowboy Bank of Texas in Roberson’s name for anyone who would like to donate.