SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – The Sioux Falls teenager, critically injured in a hit-and-run crash nearly two months ago, has reached a new milestone in her long road to recovery. 16-year-old Jasmine Chheng is now in a rehabilitation hospital re-learning the simplest tasks we take for granted. Jasmine’s mother is hopeful her daughter may be getting out of the hospital in time for Christmas.
Jasmine Chheng was struck by a hit-and-run driver along Interstate 29 back in August. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the crash and is asking the public to share any information that could lead to an arrest. Meanwhile, Jasmine is undergoing extensive therapy to improve her ability to move and communicate.
Doctors placed Jasmine in a medically-induced coma following the hit-and-run crash that left her in critical condition. Now, Jasmine is awake but unable to speak.
“She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want, like she’ll push us away and she moans a lot because they take the trach off of her and she moans, ‘Mmm,’ like a crying moan like that,” Jasmine’s mother Sanya Chheng said.
The crash has left Jasmine struggling to regain her motor skills. So, she undergoes five to six hours of therapy every day.
“They train her how to eat, to breath on her own, brush her teeth, but she still doesn’t know like, ‘Give me the ball;’ she still doesn’t know how to do that,” Chheng said.
A hospital staffer is at Jasmine’s side 24-hours a day. Her mother says Jasmine doesn’t recognize any of the people closest to her.
“She’s doing a lot better, but she’s still not responding to us like follow her hands and stuff, she doesn’t respond to that,” Chheng said.
Chheng says Jasmine is due to be discharged in mid-December. But she’ll require additional therapy once she’s out of the hospital. Jasmine’s recovery is both encouraging and heartbreaking to her family
“It’s hard, especially just to tell her that you love her, and she still doesn’t know. She gives us a look like she’s not here, you know,” Chheng said.
Lincoln County detectives are going through several hours of video that may yield clues as to what happened to Jasmine. The sheriff tells us investigators are reviewing video from DOT cameras, surveillance cameras from a truck stop and even dash-cam video from truckers driving in the area at the time.