Anneliese LaMotte of Nowthen is in serious condition after surgery to repair her pelvic bone and femur on her right side. Her best friend, Kaia Bollmann of Oak Grove, is in critical condition and remains unconscious with severe head injuries.
“Right now, the focus is on her head trauma and the traumatic brain injury that she has,” says her mother, Jill Kelley.
Both of the girls are eighth-graders at St. Francis Middle School and nearly inseparable.
“Fourteen [years old], classmates, best friends for a long time,” says Annie’s dad, Chris LaMotte. “They did, they do everything together.”
All four parents of the two girls said they don’t blame the driver for the accident. He’s identified by authorities as 62-year-old Dan Geiger of Isanti. He has cooperated with authorities and has not been charged.
“I don’t blame the driver at all,” said Kaia’s dad, Brett Bollmann. Annie’s dad echoed that her “faith tells me I need to pray for that man,” said Chris.
Once the parents help their daughters fight for recovery, they plan to fight for safety improvements on Highway 47 near the school, including a pedestrian overpass.
“I’m going to be a thorn in somebody’s side over this,” Chris said.
But their first priority is getting the girls on the path to recovery on the most difficult holiday weekend they’ve ever experienced.
“We do have a lot to be thankful for,” Lisa told reporters. “Our girls are alive and they’re getting the best care possible.”
Kaia’s mom Jill agrees.
“I’m thankful our babies are still here…that my daughter’s alive, that Annie’s alive and that there wasn’t a worse tragedy because I was not expecting her to be alive when I got here,” she said.