If you had talked to Tiffany Ward on Halloween, you would have seen her in shock.
If you had talked to her two days after, you would have seen her intensely emotional.
And if you saw Ward on Tuesday, you would have seen her tired but able to smile.
Ward is the mother of 6-year-old Brazyl, who was hit by a car while crossing a southwest valley street on Thursday. She has spent the last five days at University Medical Center at the bedside of her daughter, whose condition remained critical this week.
Brazyl is in a medically induced coma, and there’s little word on when she’ll awaken. “When she’s ready,” is the only answer the Wards have for right now.
Brazyl underwent emergency brain surgery and has a broken femur. They won’t know whether she sustained brain damage until she’s awake. Her parents don’t know if she’ll be able to see them or if she’ll remember who they are. Doctors can’t plan a recovery process until they know exactly what’s wrong.
“We see the tubes, the meds… We don’t want any of that, but it’s positive,” Brandon Ward, Brazyl’s father, said. “It means a heartbeat and lines on the monitors. It’s a blessing.”
The parents rehashed the night of the crash. After trick-or-treating at a neighborhood church near Kim Elementary School, near the intersection of Tenaya and Peace ways, Brazyl reminded her mom that she had homework to finish before bed.
So the Wards gathered Brazyl, her big brother BJ — Brandon Junior — and her little sister Berlyn, and crossed the church parking lot. Tiffany Ward saw a car speed by on Peace Way and reprimanded the driver in her mind for driving so fast in a populated area.
When they reached the sidewalk, Ward had BJ look both ways twice before crossing. Only a few steps into the road, she heard someone yell “Watch out!”
Ward experienced the next few seconds more vividly than she said she wanted to.
She looked up from her son and saw the car coming. She shoved him across the street because he was in the car’s path, and jumped backwards herself.
She saw the car, described as a silver Volkswagen Jetta, slam into her first-grade daughter.
“It hit her leg and she popped up in the air,” the mother said. “A few more inches and it would have sideswiped her, she would have been out of the way.”
“I saw her pink and white costume go flying in the air,” Ward said with a shudder. The mother crumbled to the ground, crying. She heard BJ yelling, “My sister, my sister.”
Brandon Ward didn’t see it happen, but he heard the car hit Brazyl, and he heard his daughter hit the ground.
He immediately jumped to action.
Tiffany Ward was awed as she watched her husband of seven years care for their daughter. He carefully rolled her over, felt for a pulse and started doing chest compressions. Tiffany said she’d never seen him in such an intense state.
After about four compressions, the father said, her eyes popped open and she gasped.
The crowd of trick-or-treaters around them helped. Someone brought a neck brace. A doctor came to help. People from the church prayed over the family.
Brandon Ward just waited for the sirens and focused on his daughter’s heartbeat.
“I’ve never felt a heartbeat so strong,” he said.
Once at UMC, things were a blur for both of them. Doctors flooded Brazyl’s hospital room and visitors crowded the waiting room. The Wards were shocked at the outpouring of support — emotional support, home-cooked meals, donations to their online fundraiser that had raised nearly $5,000 dollars by Wednesday night. Brazyl’s grandfather, Keith Saterfield, traveled from California to help take care of the children at home.
BJ hasn’t gone back to Kim Elementary School yet, but the students who attend school with the Ward children wrote notes of encouragement to both Brazyl and BJ.
The adult Wards haven’t gone back to work, but both parents said their employers have been understanding.
The driver in the hit-and-run crash has not yet been found, Las Vegas police said Tuesday.
Tiffany Ward described her daughter as “a sweet, kind diva who always wants to help.” She loves holding the door open for people and taking care of her little sister, who is almost 2.
The Wards are holding onto these memories while they wait for Brazyl to awaken. They hope she’ll be ready soon, but no one is going to rush it.
Meanwhile, they talk to her and do what they always have for each other — “be each other’s rock,” as Tiffany Ward put it.
“It’s day by day,” Brandon Ward said. “And whatever progress that is, we’re blessed by it.”
“She’s doing her fight,” the mother added.
Contact reporter Annalise Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0264.