PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A 4-year-old girl has been released from the hospital four months after a car crash nearly killed her and claimed the lives of her mother and oldest brother.
Doctors and medical staff applauded Marialena Trinca on Thursday as she walked on her own, discharged from St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson.
Marialena underwent months of treatment after suffering a broken leg and a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to speak, walk or eat.
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Doctors said Marialena can now speak, walk, eat and play but still "continues to face challenges."
"Seeing her eyes open and actually mouth her first word - her first word was indeed mommy," Anthony Trinca, Marialena's uncle, told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan.
The girl's grandmother said Marialena still hasn't been told that her mother, 30-year-old Keri Trinca, and 7-year-old brother Jason Jr. were killed in the October 2011 crash in Manorville.
"I think she might know," Patrica Trinca said. "There's tons of pictures in her room, we haven't tried to hide them, [but] in her heart I think she knows."
"Anytime she does mention mommy we try to divert the conversation to something else and that's been working so far," the girl's uncle, Anthony Trinca, said.
The family was on their way to Riverhead Raceway, where Jason raced go-karts, when they were broadsided by a van at the intersection of Route 111 and Montauk Avenue.
The driver of the van suffered minor injuries in the crash. He was not charged and police said there was no criminality involved.
Marialena's 2-year-old brother, Christopher, also survived the crash. He was released from the hospital a week after the accident.
Marialena's father feared he would lose his daughter as well and thanked doctors for saving her life.
"I want to thank my family and close friends who have stood by me since the worst day in my life. Words cannot express how much I appreciate all that you've done for me and my son Christopher," Jason Trinca said.
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Trinca also read a statement thanking everyone who offered him and his family support during this trying time.
"As we move on to the next chapter in our lives I once again would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who sent well wishes, thoughts and prayers. They have meant the world to me and my family," Trinca said. ". Thank you for the countless gifts that put thousands of smiles on my children's faces, and also the donations that allow me to be by my daughter's side 24 hours, seven days a week."
Doctors say that having both of his children home to continue their recovery, their dad will need all the love and support that family and friends can muster.
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