Calling crash survival a ‘miracle,’ family of Independence teen hopeful for full recovery

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A teenage girl recovering from injuries suffered in a crash on Friday has shown signs of improvement. Seventeen-year-old Shelley Cunningham's condition was upgraded on Monday from critical to serious according to a spokesperson with Centerpoint Medical Center.

The William Chrisman High School junior had just left school on Friday afternoon when the driver of a suspected stolen truck crashed into her car at 24 Highway and E. Parker. Police and crash witnesses were concerned that Cunningham wouldn't survive, and friends and family were fearing the worst.

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"It's extremely tough. Family loves her greatly, she's a beautiful person inside and out," said Cunningham's cousin, Richard McDonald.

"Lots of treatments and surgeries; we're very hopeful that she is making progress, and it's just a miracle that she survived, and we're just all praying that she does fully recover."

The driver who allegedly caused the crash ran from the scene, but was found and arrested in the 900 block of Strode a short time later. As of Monday afternoon, formal charges have yet to be filed against that driver, but he remains in jail.

Shelley Cunningham's sister, Shannon, says a prayer vigil will be held Saturday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. at William Chrisman High School.

Saturday at 7pm at William Chrisman Highschool we will be having a prayer vigil for my sister Shelley Cunningham. They will be selling candy to raise money for medical expenses. They ask that people bring their own candle for the prayer vigil.  They will also be taking orders for T-shirts that will cost between $15 and $20 .

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