Student struck on way to Douglas High |

Student struck on way to Douglas High

by Sharlene Irete

Samantha Calvillo’s mother found it hard to believe that the woman who hit her daughter could miss seeing a 5-foot-11-inch teenager wearing an orange and black jacket in a crosswalk in broad daylight.

“I swerve to avoid Peter Cottontail, why didn’t she see her and swerve?” said Charlotte Tupas.

Samantha’s step-father Jim Tupas said there are plenty of warnings alerting people not to speed through school zones.

“They did everything but put in speed bumps,” said Jim Tupas. “This lady was just not paying attention.”

The 17-year-old Douglas High School senior was hit in the crosswalk by a northbound car while crossing Highway 88 around 9:30 a.m. on March 8. Carson City resident Jana Richmond was northbound in a blue Chevrolet Malibu sedan when she reportedly struck the girl. An investigation is ongoing to determine if there will be any charges.

“I rolled up over the hood of the car, hit the windshield and rolled and landed 10 feet away,” said Samantha. “They said the woman was bending down to get coffee.

“I shattered my fib and cleanly broke my tib,” said Samantha about the fibula and tibia leg bones between the knee and ankle.

“They put in a titanium rod around the fib so the bone will cleanly grow around it. It’s plated where the break is. There are four screws in my ankle, two on each side – extremely painful.”

Besides having a shattered left leg, Samantha suffered head injuries, a bruised lung, fluid in her stomach and other possible internal injuries.

She was taken by Care Flight to Renown Medical Center in Reno and had surgery on her leg the night of the accident.

“They put four IVs in me and told me they were taking me on Care Flight,” she said. “They said, ‘We’re taking you in the helicopter. It’s going to be really loud and really windy.'”

She remembered it being a tight fit.

“They barely had room for me in the helicopter. We got to Renown in 18 minutes.”

Samantha’s clothes, including a diving jacket she had received just the day before, were cut off her with what looked like hedge clippers when she arrived at the hospital.

“I can’t dive in my senior year because of this,” she said.

Owing to her age and fitness, the prognosis is that if everything goes as planned, Samantha will indeed dive again.

“Sam just went through the certification process to become a lifeguard and just made the dive team,” Jim Tupas said. “Now all this got put on hold.”

Samantha won’t attend school for the next six weeks but may qualify to have home tutoring with a study skills teacher from Douglas High School.

“It’s so crowded, I can barely do the hallway at school with two good legs,” said Samantha. “I couldn’t do it with crutches.”

Charlotte Tupas said the family appreciates the support and concern for her daughter from the people at Samantha’s church, Valley Christian Fellowship, and from students and staff from Douglas High School.

“She is loved more than she will ever know,” said Charlotte Tupas.

Samantha plans to get healthy, she wants to dive again and graduate with her class.

“In spite of all this happening, this outpouring of support will help her reach her goals,” said Charlotte Tupas.