BURLEY — Nearly a year after a Burley woman was critically injured when she was hit by a car as she walked in a rain storm, she continues to fight to regain her mobility and rebuild her life.
“The doctor tried to fix the nerves, but he said he doesn’t know if I’ll ever walk again and that it would be a miracle if I do,” Altera Starr Moore said as she sipped a drink while lying in her hospital bed at Parke View Rehabilitation and Care Center on Sept. 18.
Moore, 41, has no recollection of being struck near 16th Street and Parke Avenue.
She suffered multiple injuries including a fractured neck, back, pelvis, wrist and arm along with a tear in the artery and a head injury, and she was in a coma afterward.
“I’ve had too many surgeries to count,” she said.
Her mother, Debbie Moeller, of Rupert said Moore has challenges because of learning disabilities, and she walked to the places she went.
Melissa Rae Wodskow of Heyburn was driving the car that hit Moore and was issued a misdemeanor citation for driving without privileges. She was fined $472 and sentenced to 180 days in jail with 170 days suspended.
At the time, Wodskow said she was driving south when she realized she had hit something and heard “…a bump.”
She told officers that she was going the speed limit, 25 mph.
Moore was transferred about a month ago from South Davis Community Hospital in Bountiful, Utah, to Burley.
She will continue receiving rehabilitation indefinitely. She is unable to stand or walk but has the use of her arms and hands.
“I’m learning to put my shoes on,” she said.
Transferring to a new rehabilitation center has been tough, and although some friends visited when she first arrived, the visits have dwindled and she misses the supportive staff at the Utah hospital and her former roommate.
“I used to live right down the road from here,” Moore said. “Some people say just get over it, but it’s hard.”
Although she is back in Burley, it doesn’t feel like home.
Moore is eager to get on with her life, and she worries about placing a burden on her family.
Her emotions tend to run high at times as she grapples with bringing her life into perspective.
“I think it’s time for me to do things on my own,” she said.
Some things that people take for granted, she said, like standing or walking, can be terrifying for someone who has to relearn those basic skills.
“I’m really afraid of falling,” she said.
Family friend, Billie Jo Cannell of Nampa keeps in contact with Moore through Facebook.
“She’s a fighter, Cannell said. “I know she’ll walk again. She can do anything she wants to do once she puts her mind to it. At one point they didn’t think she would live because she was in such bad shape after the accident.”
Cannell said Moore is funny, sweet and “really brave.”
“She always has such a positive outlook,” Cannell said.
Moore never got to face Wodskow in court, but she wants Wodskow to know that she forgives her and would welcome a visit.
“I want her to know that she should get on with her life because that’s what I plan to do,” Moore said. “I want her to know that I forgive her, and I want her family to know that, too. I can’t go on with my life without forgiving her.”
Moore said she is part to blame because it was dark and raining, and she shouldn’t have been walking on the street.
“We were both distracted that night,” she said.
Moore has overcome many obstacles created by her learning disabilities, and she’s confident she can meet any challenges that her future holds.
Moore dreams of getting married and maybe one day having a family of her own. She also yearns to take college classes and maybe study for a career as a cyber-crime analyst or a social worker.
“Just because you can’t walk doesn’t mean you can’t do other things,” she said.
“I want her to know that she should get on with her life because that’s what I plan to do. I want her to know that I forgive her and I want her family to know that too. I can’t go on with my life without forgiving her.” Altera Starr Moore