A local teenager critically injured in a Tuesday car crash in Kill Devil Hills has been showing signs of improvement, her family said Friday on their Caring Bridge page.
Tatum Love, 16, has been opening her eyes for her parents and breathing on her own after suffering head trauma in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 158 near Palmetto Street around 6:30 p.m. that night.
“Keep praying, it’s working!” the family wrote on Caring Bridge.
The First Flight High School junior and lacrosse player is being treated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. She was in the back seat of a Jeep riding with two other high school friends when a Volvo SUV pulled into the Jeep’s path. Criminal charges are pending against the driver of the Volvo, police said. Tatum was the only person seriously injured in the wreck.
The community, and fellow high school students in particular, have rallied to support Tatum and the Love family in the aftermath.
Classmates and friends held a prayer vigil at Aviation Park this week, and a GoFundMe page created by her close friend Fiona McKenna had raised more than $80,000 by Friday evening.
Slice Pizzeria in Kill Devil Hills announced Friday they will donate $10 for every 16-inch hand-tossed pizza purchased Monday to the Love family GoFundMe campaign.
“Billy Love; her Dad, is our food rep with PFG and friend,” the pizzeria wrote in a Facebook post. “Let’s show them how strong and giving our OBX community is.”
For many local high schoolers, the crash is a painful reminder of another accident involving a classmate back in 2015. Members of First Flight’s junior class were sixth graders when classmate Brianna Blumenthal, 12, was hit by a car while riding her bicycle on Colington Road toward the Wright Brother’s National Memorial after school. She died at the hospital three days later.
“These kids aren’t strangers to tragedy and their grace and power under pressure is unbelievable,” wrote local writer and photographer Audra Krieg in a Facebook post sharing the GoFundMe page. Krieg’s son is a friend and classmate of Tatum’s.