KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville teen is getting back on her feet and speaking publicly for the first time since she was hit by a motorcycle in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s been more than two months and as she recovers, she’s waiting for answers and for justice in what could have been a deadly encounter.
Brenlynn Maples, 14, was struck just outside of Townsend on Little River Road between the Townsend Wye and the Sinks. Back in August, the National Park Service released a picture of the suspect during their ride.
Maples was in the hospital for nearly a month. Until recently, she was in a wheelchair. Maples and her mom, Tanika Maples, want the driver to pay for his actions.
“I was numb from my shoulders to my toes,” said Brenlynn.
Doctors thought the teen might be paralyzed. Two months later, she moves around using a walker. She is healing a broken thumb, two broken femurs and a broken fibula.
“I want to go in the courtroom and spit on him, tell him how I feel about it,” Brenlynn said.
She said the driver took off after slamming her to the ground.
“He looked over me and said ‘You’ll be ok,’ and then laughed in my face and walked off,” she said.
Investigators have identified the suspects but no names have been released. A spokesperson for the park service said the investigation is still open and active.
“I know that the individual had confessed. Names, as far as that, I don’t know,” said Tanika Maples.
Tanika Maples wanted justice for her daughter. She said its been difficult to see her go through this recovery.
“You’ve got to suffer for your consequences and my daughter was hurt and it’s not like she was hurt and will go back to normal life,” said Tanika Maples.
Brenlynn is not letting this set back keep her from moving forward. She is working to stay positive throughout her recovery.
“People get in car wrecks on a daily basis and they have broken necks, broken backs and they can’t walk for the rest of their life. I’m walking today,” said Maples.
The park service said no charges have been filed. In the meantime, the family has hired a lawyer in preparation for a trial.