Gateway: News

Gig Harbor family copes with aftermath of hit-and-run accident

The year got off to a rough start for one Gig Harbor family when one of its members was struck Jan. 31 by a hit-and-run driver near Tacoma Community College in Tacoma.

Twenty-three-year-old Breezi West, daughter of Bob and Tina West of Gig Harbor, was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center with compound fractures in her left arm, a broken collarbone and a displaced elbow. She underwent multiple surgeries to repair an arm that in X-rays looked like a broken twig shattered into three separate parts.

West spent a month in the hospital fighting infection at the wound sites and healing enough to fight through the next surgery. She was finally released to recover at home.

West’s homecoming was a surprise to her mother. Bob, using the excuse of having to work, picked up his daughter and walked into their bedroom with Breezi right behind him.

“I am the happiest woman in the world today!” Tina wrote on her Facebook page that day.

However, the struggle to heal is still ongoing.

“The pain has been almost unbearable at times,” Breezi said. “I know every day will get a little better, every movement will get a little easier. It’s just going to take time and an incredible amount of patience.”

Breezi, an aspiring musician and songwriter, worries about the numbness in her thumb and pinky in her left hand.

“The doctor said there is an 80 percent chance the feeling will come back,” she said. “I’m believing that it will and I will never take my guitar playing for granted again. Being unable to play has made me realize how important it is to my life. I can’t wait to play again.”

What buoys her spirits is the overwhelming support and love of her family and friends, the nurses at St. Joseph who became her extended family for a month and the community help she has received.

Her employers, Rudy and Rebecca Kaldor, owners of Gig Harbor’s Yo! G’s Frozen Yogurt, held a fundraiser Feb.10 and donated all the profits and tips toward Breezi’s recovery.

“The turnout was better than anyone expected,” Breezi said. “The owners have blessed me beyond belief.”

Rebecca Kaldor feels equally grateful.

“It was our honor,” Kaldor said. “We are so happy to be able to help. We feel we are the blessed ones.”

The outpouring of support has overwhelmed Tina.

“It’s been a beautiful thing to see a whole community come together during this difficult time,” she said.

Breezi is grateful to her parents for their unwavering care as she recovers.

“My parents have literally dropped their lives to be by my side every single day and night ... they have missed work, turned their schedules around and canceled plans just to make sure I am never alone,” she said.

Tina attributes much of her strength to her church, First Love Church.

“I am thankful for my kids and their lives,” Tina said. “I have the best family; we love and support one another through everything. I am so blessed.”

Bob is another integral part of her strength, always keeping his wife’s spirits up. He taped himself singing “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift and sent it to her to lighten things up. Much to his chagrin, however, he found it posted on Tina’s Facebook page — to the delight of many Facebook friends.

Breezi does not recall much from the night of the accident or the driver.

“The nurses told me that he had been drinking and neglected to wipe his windows off when he hit me,” Breezi said. “Officers came to the hospital to question me but were not allowed into my room because I was passed out and on narcotics.”

Despite the circumstances, Breezi holds holds no animosity toward the driver.

“I personally feel bad for him,” she said. “Hitting someone could not be good for someone’s conscience. I have gone through unimaginable pain because of this incident, and may never be able to use my body the way I used to, but I forgive him.”

She is fortunate to be alive, and knows the driver didn’t intentionally try to hurt her.

“I can understand that panic and human nature. I still forgive him,” Breezi said. “I am alive and know that God was with me that night.”

Breezi’s struggle to heal continues. She is still in a lot of pain, rests as much of the day as she can, attends physical therapy and has some days better than others. What keeps her going, beyond all the support she receives, is the belief that she was “saved for a greater purpose.”