Meghan Keeney, Jack Nicholson and Rylan Beebe left Warwick High School on Friday afternoon to celebrate Keeney’s 17th birthday.
Moments after the car carrying the three juniors pulled onto West Orange Street just outside the school, police said a black Hyundai hatchback operated by Debra Slaymaker-Walker barreled into a vehicle, went airborne and flipped in an eight-car crash.
The three friends since elementary school were in one of those cars.
Beebe, 17, remained in the intensive care unit at Lancaster General Hospital on Tuesday, according to his mother Danica Beebe.
She said he is doing “as well as he can be expected for this kind of brain injury.”
Slaymaker-Walker, 63, remained hospitalized and is “unresponsive,” the Lancaster County district attorney's office said Tuesday after releasing her name to the public.
Danica Beebe said her son will survive, “but as far as the actual damage, we don’t know yet.”
She said he’s talking some and has even read a few cards, adding he doesn't remember what happened.
He’s asked about Nicholson, she said, who was his best friend since kindergarten. And one of the first things he said was, “I missed Meghan's birthday.”
“It breaks my soul to know I have to tell him Jack and Meghan are gone from us,” Beebe said.
‘Big waiting game’
Beebe said she was at her Lititz home Friday afternoon when she heard sirens. She said she had talked on the phone with her son a few minutes earlier.
“I heard the sirens, and my stomach dropped. We hear sirens all the time. But for some reason, this one felt different,” she said.
Beebe then got a call from the school district asking her to go to Lancaster General Hospital where her son was being taken. She’s been by his side as much as possible since.
“It’s a big waiting game,” she said.
Beebe said she has talked to the families of Nicholson and Keeney, and Nicholson’s parents came to the hospital to see her son Sunday.
“We're planning to continue to be close to them. We think it’s important for both of their healing,” she said of her son and Nicholson’s parents.
Outpouring of support
The support from the Warwick School District and Lititz community has been “amazing,” Beebe said.
“I tear up every time thinking about ... what it’s going to mean to him in his long-term recovery physically and with grief,” she said.
Her son was an active kid, she said. He was on the bowling team at Warwick and played basketball with a Lititz league a few years ago. He had started learning how to box with Nicholson.
Beebe said she’s saving screenshots of social media posts in support of her son.
“By the time he gets out of the hospital and rehab, most of it will be gone. I want to be able to show him,” she said.