8-year-old Belton girl severely injured in crash making remarkable recovery

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BELTON, Mo. -- An 8-year-old little girl is on her way to a remarkable recovery after a freak accident.

Lola Newell was severely injured three weeks ago when a pick-up truck crashed into her family's Belton home.

"A chaotic mess. Like a tornado that's whipped everything upside down," Jennifer O'Connor, Lola's mom, said.

That's how O'Connor describes her family's life since Nov. 14. That's the night the truck bashed right through Lola's bedroom. The house is now unlivable.

"God got us through this," O'Connor said. "It was God that protected each and every one of us."

Lucky to be alive, Lola was hospitalized for nearly three weeks in excruciating physical and mental pain. She still suffers from frequent nightmares.

"It was rough. It was really hard to watch that and to go through that with her," O'Connor said.

Lola suffered spinal fractures, a mild traumatic brain injury, and her abdominal cavity left crushed. She briefly needed a feeding tube and is now incontinent.

But now, miracles are happening. The 8-year-old is beginning to walk again with small, slow steps.

"She's had a lot of determination and motivation to get better," O'Connor said.

Lola already had Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a disorder making her body fragile. Doctors say those flexible joints actually stopped her spine from severing, which may have saved her life.

"But in the long run, she'll probably have a lot of deterioration in her spinal area, her back and her joints," O'Connor said.

Lola's stuck with a back brace for at least three more months, which has been hard for her to get used to.

"I like wearing it, but it's kind of annoying," Lola said.

Along with their faith, Lola's smile and her strong spirit, the family knows the community's outpouring of support is helping them push through.

"I didn't really know all those people care about me and that they're praying for me," Lola said. "It just means a lot to me."

Lola loves dancing, and she said she's ready to get healthy so she can take advantage of an offer she's gotten for free lessons.

A savings account is now set up to help pay for her continued care.  Donations can be sent to the following:

Commerce Bank
C/O Jennifer O'Connor, custodian for Lola Rose Newell
8200 E. 171st St.
Belton MO 64012

The family said they're also grateful for an area church, which offered up a transition home where the family's living the next few weeks. It's been challenging to find a home large enough for the family of eight, but they think they've secured a new place.

As for the driver who hit their home, Cory Lionel Palmer Hansen, he's due back in court  in January. The family hopes he learns to think about how actions can have serious consequences to others.

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