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Accident victim making strides in recovery

MIDDLEBURY — Thanks to some great medical care, a supportive family and a lot of good friends, local three-year-old Charlotte McConnell is on a solid road to recovery after having been seriously injured by a car traveling on Weybridge Street a year ago.
Charlotte is doing so well, in fact, that she will be participating in a “We Walk N’ Roll” event that will take place in downtown Middlebury on Wednesday, April 1, the one-year anniversary of the accident that could easily have taken her life. That event is intended to reinforce to motorists the importance of being on the lookout for pedestrians.
Charlotte was struck by an SUV in front of the Otter Creek Child Center, where she was a client and her mom, Karly, was an early educator. She sustained some major injuries, including traumatic brain injury, vision impairments, and a broken left leg that went unnoticed for over a month. Charlotte and her mom spent two-and-a-half months living at both Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and the Spaulding Rehab Hospital in the Charlestown section of Boston.
Adding to the family’s trials and tribulations was the sudden death last year of Charlotte’s grandmother, Joyce Duclos, who served as a family spokesperson following the accident.
But things have been looking up.
Last June, Charlotte underwent a procedure to insert a shunt in her head to drain off fluid that had slowly built up over the months, according to Karly McConnell. This procedure has also improved her vision.
“The doctors are very happy with the progress she is making,” said Charlotte’s mom, Karly McConnell. “They say she will continue to heal over time.”
Karly added Charlotte recently underwent surgery on her left leg, which was broken in two places. Surgeons pinned the bones in a manner that will allow them to grow evenly as she gets older. She is walking right now with a leg immobilizer that has not prevented her from getting around.
“She has been steadily improving over the months,” Karly reported through a “We Walk N’ Roll” site the family has created on Facebook.
A full recovery is anticipated.
Karly is thrilled that her daughter is attending the Early Essential Education program at Mary Hogan Elementary School four days a week, and that her speech and vocabulary are making strides. Mother and daughter, with hopefully many other people, will be making some physical strides during the We Rock N’ Roll event. Plans call for children and their supervisors to leave their respective, Middlebury-based child care centers at 10 a.m. and make their way through the downtown to the town green by 11 a.m. At that time, Karly McConnell and perhaps others will say a few words, after which the children will play. Participants will carry signs urging drivers to be more aware of pedestrians.
The outpouring of support has meant a lot to the McConnells.
“I have been a part of this community since the day I was born,” Karly said. “I take much pride in saying this is my hometown and where my children are being raised as well. That is why I feel the need to help this community to be more aware. I believe that we can prevent more accidents from happening and keep our town safe. Children, elderly, college students, high schoolers, everyone. We all make this a community and we are all a part of it, thus it’s going to take us all working together to make this a safe place for everyone.”
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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