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Teen's family waits for her to 'come back'

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Mickayla Harig, 18, has not opened eyes since Sunday night crash

By Gina Clear

At University Hospital in Louisville, visitor after visitor has come to see Mickayla Harig after she sustained injuries in a crash Sunday night on Patriot Parkway.

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Although his daughter is not awake to greet her guests, Harig’s father, Ray, said the constant stream of visitors is representative of his daughter’s kind spirit.

“The amount of kids that have come through this hospital have been a testament to her,” he said. “There are people coming we have never met and they talk about how great she is.”

Harig, 18, sustained a head injury, lacerations and breaks in both legs that eventually will require surgery to place rods after the wreck at the intersection of Deckard School Road and Patriot Park­way. Harig was a passenger.

The driver, Brianna Taylor, 17, of Elizabethtown, died after the collision. Her funeral was Thursday.

Both recent high school graduates — Harig from North Hardin and Taylor from Elizabethtown — were returning home from fishing with friends at a farm pond in Rineyville, Ray said.

Earlier in the day, the two swam and watched the United States play in the World Cup at the Harigs’ house. Harig played for the high school soccer team her sophomore and junior years.

“Mickayla loves fishing,” Ray said, recalling the girls’ invitation to fish that came around 6:30 that night. “She was excited to go.”

The girls joined Savanah Morris and other friends at the pond.

“Brianna followed me over there so they could leave when they wanted,” Morris said.

After a night of fun with friends, Harig and Taylor headed home around 10:15 p.m. Ray received a text around that time to tell him the friends were on their way home.

Morris stayed at the pond later than Harig and Taylor.

After some time, Morris received a text from Ray asking if she had heard from them.

“He said he got a text an hour and a half ago saying she was on her way home,” Morris recalled.

Calls were made to Har­din Memorial Hospital and Radcliff police. Morris drove different routes from Rineyville to Rad­cliff to see if she could find them. Then news of the crash came and she went to the scene with another friend.

“It was a disaster,” she said. “As soon as we pulled up, we just lost it. We went to Louisville right after that. We beat her parents up there.”

Best friends since sophomore year, Morris said Harig could be friends with “anybody and everybody.”

“She doesn’t stay mad at anybody,” she said. “She’s very forgiving and a really caring person.”

An All-American girl, as her dad describes her, Harig is a “very appreciative, very loving child” who loves her Boston terrier, Rocco, and is family oriented, Ray said.

North Hardin art teacher Whitney Carpenter said she enjoyed having Harig in class because of the traits her father and friends described.

“Mickayla was very well liked by her peers,” Carpenter said. “She was very head strong and opinionated, but she wouldn’t put down people. She would find a way to build them up and be a motivator.”

Although doctors aren’t saying Harig is in a coma, Ray said she hasn’t opened her eyes and is not sedated. She is responding to stimuli, but not voice commands. Harig is listed in stable but serious condition.

“The doctors are saying, ‘Be patient. It takes time,’” Ray said. “In their opinion, she’s doing well. We’re just waiting on her to come back to us.”

Morris said Harig’s heart rate has gone up when people talk to her and she’s responding to touch.

“It seems like everyone has a pretty positive outlook right now, but it’s going to be a long recovery,” she said.

As guests continue to pour through Harig’s hospital room, the family is welcoming all who come to see her.

“Mickayla would want us to allow people to come see her,” Ray said. “I don’t have the words to describe the amount of love we’re getting from the community.”

Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1746 or gclear@thenewsenterprise.com.