Top 10 of 2012, #5: Lydia Herrle’s crash and recovery
Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 6:34PM EST
From now until Dec. 31, CTV Kitchener is counting down the top 10 local stories of 2012. Catch the countdown each night on CTV News at Six.
The story of Lydia Herrle started out looking like a tale of heartbreaking loss, but instead turned into a heartwarming chronicle of community support.
On May 17, 13-year-old Lydia was stepping off the school bus in front of her family’s market on Erbs Road.
Then a garbage truck came down the road, crashing into the bus and then hitting Lydia. She spent two months at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto with serious injuries.
While the Herrle family drove to Toronto daily to be with their daughter, the community rallied support at home. Messages were delivered, fundraisers were held and lime green ribbons were flown across the area.
“It’s been beyond extraordinary,” said James Herrle, Lydia’s father.
“It’s a tough time for me, driving down Erb Street without tearing up just seeing those ribbons.”
The driver of the garbage truck, Kitchener resident Jason Arndt, was charged with failing to stop for a school bus, careless driving, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and criminal negligence.
The case is working its way through the courts, but Lydia’s family has done little to blame Arndt for the crash.
“We recognize there’s no future in the negative, there’s no future in the blame, there’s no future in withholding forgiveness,” said Paul Atkinson, Lydia’s grandfather.
In July, Lydia was transferred from Sick Kids to a children’s rehabilitation hospital in Toronto. Immediately, the family’s spirits perked up.
“It’s such a place of hope,” Michelle Herrle, Lydia’s mother, told CTV.
“We’ve gone from Sick Kids, which is totally that, an environment for sick children, to a spot where they are rehabilitating.”
At the new hospital, Lydia’s improvements became more dramatic. Although still in a wheelchair, she began spending some weekends at home in August. By October, she was back home with her parents and brothers for good.