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Raleigh hit-and-run victim recovering after losing leg

Posted November 14, 2013
Updated December 23, 2013

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— A computer graphics artist with big plans for the future, Ana Kessel, 20, moved to Raleigh from Miami a few months ago for a full-time internship with video game developer Insomniac Games.

Those plans, however, were put on hold Monday afternoon when she became the victim of a hit-and-run in southeast Raleigh.

"I don't remember anything about being hit," she said Thursday from her hospital bed at WakeMed. "I just remember being half awake and the nurse telling me I lost my leg."

Kessel had just left her boyfriend's house and was running errands when she tried to turn left from Rocky Quarry Road onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard around 2:45 p.m.

That's when, Raleigh police say, a sedan driven by Michael Deontea Jones, 23, collided with her moped in the intersection. Police said Jones took off and was later arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run and driving without a valid license.

The wreck has left Kessel in disbelief.

"I still have what they have called phantom limbs," she said. "I still look down and think I'm going to see my legs. I feel like I can move my toes, but they're not there."

Kessel, who doesn't have health insurance, says she's now in need of a prosthetic leg – something that she expects will cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

The community is already rallying around her, raising money online. By Thursday evening, people had donated more than $30,000 to help her cover her medical bills and expenses.

"It's really heart-warming, and I'm really grateful for it," Kessel said.

She sees the wreck not as a hindrance to her future, but an obstacle she'll get through.

"I'm not too afraid of the future," she said. "Life is definitely going to be different, but I don’t think there will be anything that I won't be able to do that I'm not already doing."

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  • ncdime1235 Nov 18, 2013

    I feel sorry for both people involved. I hope they both can recover from this. They both had fault in this accident. He should not have been driving without a license and she should not have pulled out in front of him. He was very wrong to leave the scene. I hear about it all the time. Why leave? He would have only received a ticket for DWLR. The accident was her fault. He is not responsible for her medical bills. I for one do not agree with these scooters being on the road, but since we have so many people who need them, they should have to be insured and licensed just like my vehicles. He will pay for leaving the scene, but that's his only responsibility.

  • wenfromwake Nov 18, 2013

    According to the initial report it sounds like she failed to yield to on-coming Rock Quarry Road traffic. Of course he shouldn't have fled the accident.

  • LocalYokel Nov 18, 2013

    Did Kessel pull out in front of Deontea while turning left?

  • anneonymousone Nov 15, 2013

    I agree with the people who have commented on this young woman's amazing attitude. It's great that people are raising money for her, too. I'll contribute later this week.

    All the best, Ms. Kessel. Please don't give up on people; we can be all right sometimes.

  • CharmedLife Nov 15, 2013

    JAT, no offense...but you make it sound as snapping one's fingers and BAM!!....Insurance coverage!

  • Marty King Nov 15, 2013

    People in that area are always speeding, playing loud music and driving with their seat so far back that they can barely see over the steering wheel.

  • anotherbabyboomer Nov 15, 2013

    You never know when you will need insurance. If you do find you end up at a hospital good luck trying to get the proper care you need.

  • Ouiser Nov 15, 2013

    yes, the driver should be responsible for all expenses BUT good luck getting it - the man had no license to drive, so what makes you think he has insurance? even if he was found responsible for her costs, he could file bankruptcy or the lawyers would eat into the profits.

  • Alexia.1 Nov 15, 2013

    Folks arguing that young people, especially those earning minimum wage, should buy insurance must have forgotten what it's like or never lived on minimum wage. One does not have $150 to spare on minimum wage. That's 13% of the gross income!

    As much as I support the fact that everyone have health coverage, I think Obomacare goes about it all wrong. All people should have insurance and it should be paid for through taxes. We should just add 5% to everyone's income taxes and be done with it. You go to the doctor and the doctor sends the bill the the government. Go to the pharmacy and they bill the government.

    Many countries around the world do this. Asking a person to pay for insurance when they have no income is a bit silly. Likewise, insurance companies are just a profit engine we can do without.

    Let the government dictate the rates for procedures and drugs. It works elsewhere, and nothing stops a continued private market for those that can afford it.

  • smcallah Nov 15, 2013

    I know I'll be leaving my daughter on my company insurance policy until the legally allowed age of 26.

    She could have been on one of her parent's insurance policies, but we don't know the situation. Perhaps she has no parents, or her parents don't have a job or insurance. Or her parents kicked her out. Or she or they didn't know she could be on their policy until 26 years old.

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