Missing teeth and facial fractures. A collapsed lung and ruptured spleen. A broken pelvis and brain trauma.
Larry Burch said his 15-year-old daughter, Tammy Burch, is lucky to be alive after she was struck by a trolley in downtown St. Petersburg Sunday. She’s in critical condition, but Burch said the operations that should save her life have been completed, including one that removed her spleen and a brain surgery.
“It’s a laundry list — just horrible internal injuries,” he said. “It’ll be days until we know the extent of her brain injury.”
For now, Burch said, Tammy is in a medically induced coma at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg — just a few blocks from where she was hit while crossing the street.
Around 11:22 a.m. Sunday, Tammy, a Boca Ciega High School ninth-grader and straight-A student, exited a SunRunner bus and was trying to cross First Avenue when she was struck by the eastbound trolley, police say.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority trolley was driving behind the SunRunner on First Avenue South, near Seventh Street, officials said Sunday. When the bus stopped to let passengers off, Burch said police told him the trolley went around the stationary SunRunner and into the traffic lane.
“And my daughter walked right into the path of the trolley,” Burch said. “It knocked her about 20 feet.”
Two trolley passengers were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries, as well as its driver, 54-year-old Chrishawn Rodgers of Tampa, officials said in a news release Sunday.
Burch said Tammy had told her mother Sunday morning that she was going for a walk around their Gulfport neighborhood. He assumed she ended up in downtown St. Petersburg to meet with a friend. But he said she must not have planned on being out long because she left her backpack at home.
“Tammy, she rides the bus fricking everywhere,” he said. “I mean, she is a pro.”
Burch works for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, and he said many bus drivers know Tammy since they see her on their buses often. One of the perks of his job is that his children — six daughters including Tammy — ride the bus for free, Burch said.
“I’m a transportation supervisor,” Burch said. “I respond to accidents, so the shock of my daughter being hit by a PSTA bus (trolley) — I just can’t wrap my head around it.”
Burch said he and his wife have been taking turns bringing their daughters to the hospital since the incident.
“We’re just doing the best we can,” he said.