Archive for Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hit-and-run accident victim’s condition improving

A Lawrence mother critically injured in a Jan. 31 hit-and-run accident near 28th and Lawrence Ave. continues to make progress. Police are still searching for a suspect.

February 10, 2010


Krystyn Renfro spent her 33rd birthday clinging to life.

Her parents did not know if their daughter would live or die after she was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident during the early-morning hours of Jan. 31.

“I was so angry,” Krystyn’s dad, Ralph Renfro, said in a telephone interview, as he sat at his daughter’s bedside at a Kansas City hospital. “To think that someone hit my baby and left her laying in the cold street and just drove off.”

Lawrence police are looking for a light-colored 2004 to 2006 Mazda 3 — which would be similar to the car in this Wikipedia photo — in connection with a Jan. 31 hit-and-run accident.

Lawrence police are looking for a light-colored 2004 to 2006 Mazda 3 — which would be similar to the car in this Wikipedia photo — in connection with a Jan. 31 hit-and-run accident.

Ralph Renfro said he’s been able to piece together the events of that night, with the help of police and witness accounts. He said his daughter, a mother who delivered her third child three months ago, was walking near 28th and Lawrence Avenue, not far from her home. He said she had stopped and was leaning against a mailbox, talking on her cell phone.

A resident came out and asked her if she needed anything and happened to witness the accident.

According to Ralph Renfro, his daughter finished the conversation but dropped her cell phone, and a passing car struck her as she bent down.

Krystyn suffered massive injuries to her left side, broken ribs, a severely fractured pelvis, and a life-threatening brain injury from trauma to her head. Ralph Renfro, at his home in Chase in central Kansas, got the call in the middle of the night that no parent wants to hear and immediately jumped in the car and headed to Kansas City.

“It was the longest four-hour drive I’ve ever had in my life,” Ralph Renfro said. “I prayed and cried the whole way.”

But in the week and a half since the accident, Renfro said his daughter has made remarkable progress. After undergoing multiple surgeries, including one to relieve pressure on her brain, Krystyn was taken off a ventilator Wednesday and her feeding tube has been removed.

“She’s breathing on her own,” Ralph Renfro said. “I think she’s out of the woods, but it’s going to be a year-long process. We are very optimistic about her chances for a full recovery.”

While their focus now is on their daughter’s health, the Renfros can’t help but think about the person responsible.

“I would just like to have that person so he or she can stand over the bed of that beautiful girl, and see what they’ve done, and get some appreciation for the disruption and how many people are affected by it,” Ralph Renfro said.

Police are still looking for the suspect and have described the car as a silver or light colored 2004 to 2006 Mazda 3 with possible front end damage. Anyone with information is asked to call Lawrence police, 830-7430, or CrimeStoppers, 843-TIPS.

“I’d like for it to remain on people’s minds,” Ralph Renfro said. “I want everyone to know that if it happened to my daughter, it could happen to someone else’s daughter, or someone else’s kid, until the people in Topeka do something about it.”


Steve Jacob 8 years, 4 months ago

"A resident came out and asked her if she needed anything and happened to witness the accident."

That's the first sign that something strange was going on. What would get you out of the house to check on someone that time of night? Now if the driver would tell there side on the story....

cntrygrl 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm praying for a full recovery! I'm wishing you all the best, Krystyn!

somedude20 8 years, 4 months ago

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kusp8 8 years, 4 months ago

It shouldn't matter WhAt she was doing at that time of night. Nobody should drive off after they've hit somebody, especially at nigh when nobody can tell what's going on. that. Almost, invariably, we will find out that the driver had been intoxicated. Unless she dropped her cell phone and kicked it around a couple of times there's no way a sober person couldn't have avoided her.

Kris_H 8 years, 4 months ago

Maybe a sober person couldn't have avoided her, stuff happens, but a sober person most likely would have stopped to see what they hit, if they didn't know. I would. A drunken driver would have had to keep on driving and hope they got away with it, or simply not care about what they hit.

Charlie Sabotage 8 years, 4 months ago

glad to hear she is doing better. hope for a full recovery. good luck hon!

puddleglum 8 years, 4 months ago

how come the article doesn't mention the time of the accident? was it after beer:thirty? was it daytime? was it in the middle of the night? where exactly did it happen? why is the exact address not listed? was she walking in the street because someone didn't shovel their sidewalk? it was snow-laden, correct?

ralphralph 8 years, 4 months ago

First, it does not matter why she was out there, because somebody hit her with a car (which may or may not have been their fault) and then ran, rather than stopping to help her (which absolutely was their fault and for which they should be in jail). Even so, it is certainly understandable to wonder why someone is out walking in the snowy street talking on the phone at 1:30 AM (isn't that when they said it happened?). Maybe she had to go outside to not wake the baby, or maybe there is some other reason. WU says it was about 17 degrees F at that hour, which, in my world, is pretty darn cold. So, yes, the curiosity is reasonable, even though the answer doesn't really matter much.
I hope this young lady recovers fully and quickly, and that the driver of the car is identified and charged ... even though the law is so weak they won't face the kind of punishment they deserve. This seems to be a real good time, also, to contact the dillweeds in Topeka, if you can drag them away from trying to run high school football, and tell them that we DEMAND tougher laws for hit-and-run drivers and for flee-and-elude drivers, who are violent criminals when it comes right down to it.

puddleglum 8 years, 4 months ago

it just says 'early morning hours'

is that 2:30?

or 6:30?

checking her mail at 2:30 a.m.?

something doesn't add up here.

Rae Hudspeth 8 years, 4 months ago

Someone came outside in the freezing cold to check on a woman by herself on her cell phone? Perhaps she was leaning against their mailbox? Perhaps upset?

Good for them! Too many people aren't willing to "get involved". I hope their witnessing helps to find the auto that hit her. May her recovery go smoothly. When will people stop questioning the victims' actions and look at the more immediate questions?

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