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'Maybe He Can Have A Better Life': Girl, 11, Has Message For Driver Who Hit Her While Under Influence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An 11-year-old Minneapolis girl has a surprising message for the man officers say nearly killed her.

Gregory Garth, 60, is now charged with criminal vehicular operation in the case. Investigators say he had cocaine, marijuana and alcohol in his system when he hit Shianne Dean as she got off a school bus with her sister in May.

Gregory Garth
Gregory Garth (credit: Hennepin Co. Jail)

Garth told police the stop arm was not out on the bus, so he tried to pass it. Investigators say because of construction, the bus driver had stopped at a different spot and did not extend the stop arm.

After waking from a 10-day coma, she has had three brain surgeries. WCCO caught up with Shianne to see how she's doing today and what she has to say to the man who hit her.

Another day, another appointment – Shianne, her mom and her sister spent Friday morning in an occupational therapy session at Hennepin Healthcare.

"I'm doing fine. I'm not the best, but I'm still kind of pulling it together and having a great time. I'm trying to put the past behind me," Shianne said after the session.

Slowly, she is regaining her strength. Shianne is still spending about three days a week in hospitals, but she and her sister are making the most of life.

"I help her, but this time I couldn't help her and she was on her own and she was very strong," said Shiane's sister Taliah, who witnessed the crash. "We are like, when we are apart, we have nothing, but when we're together, we have everything."

Taliah And Shianne
Taliah And Shianne (credit: CBS)

The 9-year-old and 11-year-old have learned some adult lessons. They know the person officers say hurt Shianne was under the influence, but she is above it all.

"I really want him to know that he needs to get out of the problem that he has and stay away from all those drugs and maybe he can have a better life," Shianne says of Garth.

After brain surgery, 72 staples and a shaved head, Shianne Dean is offering some amazing grace.

Shianne and Taliah's mom says she wants the biggest takeaway from their case to be safety. As we go into the new school year, she says to look out for buses and children. Shianne is still battling short-term memory loss and extreme knee, shoulder and head pain, but she is planning to go back to school in two weeks.

Garth faces three felony charges – a sentence of up to 15 years. He is expected in court Aug. 26.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Dean's family cover their mounting hospital bills.


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