CARMEL, Ind. (Jan. 24. 2016) – Family members of 15-year-old Zoe Coonce fight back tears as they relive the heart wrenching moment they found out the Anderson teen was in the hospital with broken bones and severe brain injuries after she was in a car that smashed into a tree going around 90 miles an hour last Saturday in Carmel.
“I never dreamed it was this bad. She had a tube coming out of her mouth, not responding or anything,” says her mom Jennifer Coonce.
Zoe was in the backseat of her grandma's Chevy Impala with friends who traveled up from Anderson for the night. Police tried to pull the car over for a traffic violation, but the driver, 19-year-old John Burge, fled from officers. Burge does not have a driver’s license.
“We have heard stories that the girls were crying and yelling, 'Stop, stop!' He just kept going,” says Zoe’s grandmother, Linda McAtee.
The car was traveling at dangerously high speeds on the icy roads and crashed into a tree. Several teens in the car were injured, but Zoe's injuries were the worst.
“She did not mean for the boy to drive 105 mph, he was going 90 when he wrecked,” says McAtee.
Zoe’s family has not left her side, praying she pulls through.
“I’m going to see the big, brown eyes open and I’m going to see that beautiful smile,” says McAtee.
Her condition changes every day.
“It was Thursday the last time I got to speak to my daughter. That was the last time I got to see her smile, the last time I got to hear her voice,” says Coonce.
Burge now faces multiple charges and Zoe’s family has a warning for other teens.
“Your bad choices that you can make in life can lead to horrible circumstances. So, when parents are telling you that you cannot do something, it is not because we are mean. It is because this could be the result,” says Coonce.
“If she had it to do all over again, I know she would not have been in the car. But, she was… and we have to deal with that,” says McAtee.
There is a fundraiser for Zoe at Buffalo Wild Wings in Anderson on Feb. 6. During the event, 15% of all proceeds will be donated to Zoe’s family to help pay for medical expenses.
You can also donate to the GoFundMe page.