Teen struck by car cited for crime

Kellie Obong sleeps in a chair by her daughter's hospital bed, watching over the teenager who is in an induced coma with bleeding in her brain.

Although her daughter's condition is serious, Obong hopes for the best for the popular 13-year-old who loves reggae and dreams of being a criminal defense attorney.

But she also has bitter thoughts when she recalls the Las Vegas police officer who handed her a jaywalking citation only moments after her middle child was taken in an ambulance to University Medical Center Tuesday afternoon.

At that time, Obong didn't even know whether her daughter, Takara Davis, was going to survive the accident. The impact was so severe that her body shattered the car's windshield as she flew into the air.

" 'This is for Takara," Obong recalled the officer telling her in the hospital. "'She's been issued a jaywalking ticket. She needs to appear in municipal court March 16."

A typical jaywalking citation is $90 for a first-time offender, although a judge has discretion.

The words sounded so callous, Obong said Thursday, still seething as she spoke of the ticketing.

Obong said that after the officer handed her the citation, he turned back and told her how much damage Takara's body had done to the car that hit her.

"The damage to the car was the least of my worries," Obong said. Doctors brought Takara out of her induced coma Friday. She was heavily medicated, but could tell Obong she loved her.

"She has no idea what happened or where she is," she said Friday.

Obong said Takara was hit between 2:11 p.m. and 2:34 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after she was released from Lawrence Junior High School. The collision was at the intersection of Durango Drive and Rochelle Avenue, about a half-mile from the school.

Obong said her daughter was walking where there is no marked crosswalk, on Rochelle crossing Durango from west to east. The car was going north on Durango.

Obong said she knows little about the car or its driver. She did say students told her the car sped up instead of slowing down as her daughter attempted to cross, though the police said it was traveling at 45 mph, the speed limit.

Bill Cassell, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said Thursday that the officer was just doing his job. He said police are trained to cite lawbreakers, and if a person can't physically receive a citation it is given to a family member.

Cassell said officers are professional and sensitive in situations where injuries occur.

"Our officers a lot of times are tasked with doing things that are not easy or fun," he said. "We do it with the absolute highest level of compassion and professionalism we can muster."

Obong said police need better training when dealing with grieving people.

"In any life-or-death situation, they need to think about the injured," she said. "Maybe they need to reconsider or change what they do."

Obong, a taxi driver, said although Takara was not in a marked crosswalk, the driver was at fault if the car accelerated, trying to beat Takara to the intersection. She said her lawyer will determine whether to file a complaint or some other action against police.

Obong said her daughter has had 38 stitches on her left elbow, and dozens of stitches to her head. Doctors induced a coma because any brain activity or movement could cause brain swelling and damage.

Obong added that her daughter has been bleeding from her frontal lobe and has had no movement on the left side of her body, where she absorbed most of the impact. Doctors say Takara will pull through, but will probably require intensive physical therapy, she said.

Obong now worries whether permanent damage has been caused to Takara's brain, and whether she'll ever see the daughter she knew before the crash, the girl who was into common teenage stuff.

"She's a typical Facebook, AIM, Tweeter," Obong said.

"It's Twitter," her 11-year-old son, Elijah, interrupted with a giggle.

Reporter Mike Blasky contributed to this report. Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.