Another heartbreaking update about the little girl injured in the February 4 car crash with former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid just before the Super Bowl: Ariel Young likely has permanent brain damage, her family’s lawyer, Tom Porto, says. The 5-year-old was sitting in the back seat of a car parked on the side of the highway with her 4-year-old cousin as her mom and aunt were helping a 19-year-old family member, also parked there, whose car had run out of gas. Reid, who admitted to having two or three drinks before driving, hit the two parked cars at high speed, flattening the back seat where Ariel and her cousin were sitting. Her cousin suffered a broken nose and a concussion, but Ariel’s injuries were life-threatening and left her in a coma for more than a week.
“This wasn’t a fender bender,” Porto told Good Morning America in an interview. “This was a serious life-altering event.”
Newly released photos of the vehicles involved in the crash, which occurred just days before the Chiefs played in the Super Bowl, show how severe the three-car accident was. “When you look at those pictures, you wonder how anybody made it out of that car alive,” Porto said. Britt Reid, who is the son of Kansas City head coach Andy Reid, was placed on administrative leave after the accident did not travel to the game with the Chiefs. His contract with the team has since expired and will not be renewed.
“She’s awake, which is a huge development,” Porto said of Ariel, who is not able to speak. “She likely has permanent brain damage that she will endure for the rest of her life. She’s not walking — it’s a sad, sad, sad story.”
The investigation into the car crash is still ongoing, but no charges have yet been filed against the former coach.
“We’re going to be advocating for the most serious charges and the most serious sentence that Britt could ever receive,” Porto said. “We don’t have the toxicology back. I don’t know what it is going to be. What I do know are the statements that he made to police that night. If you have two or three drinks, and then you get behind the wheel of a car, you are likely over the legal limit.”
This isn’t the first time that Reid was involved in a vehicular incident. In 2008, Reid pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Previously, in 2007, he pleaded guilty to flashing a gun at a motorist and was sentenced to eight to 23 months in prison.
The Young family said they still pray Ariel will make a full recovery, but Porto said they’re being warned that may not happen. A GoFundMe created by her aunt, Tiffany Verhulst, has raised more than $500,000, which should be a huge help to the family since Young’s mom had to stop working and find care for her two other children while her daughter is in the hospital.
“I know everyone wants a new update on Ariel, sadly there hasn’t been much progress since the last update,” Verhulst wrote on the GoFundMe page Tuesday. “She remains awake but unresponsive, and will be in a wheelchair for the foreseeable future. We don’t know how long it will take before she responds or talks again, but we will never give up hope.”