TAMPA — She swung her pink-socked left foot as her stepfather wheeled her in front of the cameras Tuesday afternoon at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.
At first, Gabrielle Rossman, 5, leaned over to her mother and said she didn't want to talk to the group of reporters.
It's been only 11 days since a neighbor's Jeep plowed into a yard in Hudson, striking two girls in the set of triplets. Gabrielle suffered two broken clavicles and two broken bones in her right leg.
Her sister Delaney died.
Their parents told Gabrielle her sister had used her wings and gone to heaven, said Jackie Faruggio, a spokeswoman for the hospital. If she wanted to see her, she could just close her eyes.
Her other sister, Isabella, was waiting at home. And even though Gabrielle would have to use a wheelchair for three weeks, she was elated to be on her way.
Reporters asked her mother, Danielle Malm, how it felt to be going home.
Gabrielle couldn't hide her full-faced smile dotted with a few empty spaces. She switched between a near shout and sing-songy delivery when telling reporters how excited she was to be going home.
A purple cast on her right leg jutted out from under a Tinkerbell blanket. A too-large, black-and-white striped fedora dropped over her eyes twice as she angled her head up to see.
Gabrielle waited patiently while her stepfather, Eric Malm, loaded all the cards, balloons and keepsakes sent to her in the hospital into a white Chevy Corsica. Then, they drove away.
At home, she won't be far from the home of Betty-Jo Tagerson, who was driving the Jeep that put her in the hospital and killed her sister. Officials said Tagerson hasn't been charged, and the investigation continues.
No one at the news conference mentioned the driver's name.