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Teenager Paralyzed In St. Paul Crash Returns Home

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Twin Cities teenager who was paralyzed in a car crash is back home with her family.

Three months ago, Amarya Ward-West's dad, Earl Ward, crashed his vehicle in a construction zone in St. Paul. Authorities say he was drunk behind the wheel.

Investigators say Ward ran from the scene, leaving his kids -- 8-year-old Almond and 14-year-old Amarya -- alone and injured.

He faces eight charges in connection with the crash.

Tracie West, Amarya's aunt, has waited for this day for three long months.

"Coming back here will be comforting for her," West said.

She spent Friday morning setting up the welcome home celebration for her niece.

Life hasn't been easy for the teen. Amarya has spent the last 15 weeks in the hospital recovering after her spinal cord was nearly severed.

"She does still have days where she's having trouble, but ... she's very strong," she said.

Amarya doesn't remember the crash, but she does remember the driver -- her dad -- who authorities say drove drunk and crashed.

"[Amarya] doesn't want to have any interaction with him anymore," West said.

Her injuries left her paralyzed from the shoulders down, and adjusting to her new daily routine will take time.

Inside her room, she has medical supplies to conquer this new way of life. But Amarya has found that overcoming her injury takes more than medication -- it takes determination.

Doctors told her she may never move her limbs. She's already proving them wrong.

"It's better than not moving anything," Amarya said.

Every day she works towards that goal of one day walking again. Now home with family, she finds the constant support and encouragement to keep healing.

"She's gone through a lot, but she's really strong, so I think we'll be fine," West said.

Amarya's brother, Almond, faces a long recovery. He fractured his femur and severed an artery in the crash. He's still walking with crutches.

Instead of dwelling on what she lost, Amarya looks to the family surrounding her.

This 14-year-old is ready to move forward.

"If you don't, then what's the point of being here?" Amarya said.

Earl Ward still remains in Ramsey County Jail awaiting trial.

If you'd like to help Amarya with the recovery process, you can donate to any U.S. Bank branch under the "Amarya Ward West Fund."

You can also help by going to her Go Fund Me website.

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