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'That's God all around': Crookston girl dragged city block by semi continues to recover

For the first time since the accident, 10-year-old Kaylee Acevedo sat on the edge of her bed at Sanford Hospital for 10 minutes and looked out the window of her hospital room.

'Angels and God all around': Crookston girl dragged city block by semi continues to recover
10-year-old Kaylee Acevedo

FARGO โ€” "She takes it pretty rough at times. She is accepting parts of it," Rhonda Richard said.

Her daughter, 10-year-old Kaylee Acevedo, just wants to return home to her family and friends in Crookston, Minnesota.

"She's so used to living one way already, to have that taken away from her just like that," Richard said.

On Oct. 4, Kaylee was riding her bike on the sidewalk with her cousin in downtown Crookston. They were standing on the sidewalk at the Highway 2 turn onto Broadway, waiting for traffic to pass, when police say a semi hopped the curb. Kaylee got tangled in the back wheels and was dragged more than a city block until the semi driver realized the girl was trapped in the wheels.

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"I did not want to believe it; it seemed unreal," Richard said. She was 3 hours away at the time and drove right to Sanford Health in Fargo.
"Having to see her lay there, and not even 12 hours after the accident to have to get her leg amputated โ€” within 24 hours, just a big change. To see her whole life changing," she said with tears in her eyes.

Aside from losing her right leg, Kaylee also suffered a broken left leg and pelvis. Her only head injury was a chipped tooth.

"That's angels. That's God all around," her mother said.

Richard says her daughter remembers most of the events and that has added to the wounds.

"We don't want her to feel like it's her fault, because she already has a little bit of guilt," Kaylee's mom said.

Her family wants to thank everyone for the prayers and support, like dozens of get well cards from her fifth grade classmates at Highland Elementary that she rereads everyday.

There was also a motorcycle ride two weeks ago that raised nearly $7,000 so Kaylee's mom can remain at her only child's bedside.

"We love you guys from the bottom of our hearts," Richard said. "We appreciate everything you have done for us, from the bottom of our hearts."

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Kaylee is a young girl, taking it day by day, hoping to return home soon to just do "normal kid stuff again," see her dog, Bugsby, and say thank you.

"It will be different โ€” just so different, but eventually we will learn what her new normal will be, and it will be so hard," Richard said.

It will be at least two to three weeks before Kaylee can leave the hospital, she said.

It's unclear if Kaylee will be able to return home then or need to go to a rehab center to learn to walk with her prosthetic leg.

The Minnesota State Patrol continues to investigate the incident, and no charges or tickets have been issued.

Crookston elementary school praying for classmate dragged by semi
Cards written by classmates of fifth grader Kaylee Acevedo. Matt Henson / WDAY News

Crookston elementary school praying for classmate dragged by semi
Cards written by classmates of fifth grader Kaylee Acevedo. Matt Henson / WDAY News

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at mhenson@wday.com and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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