Ashley Richards is awake roughly two weeks after being left for dead by the side of a Crestview road.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Roughly two weeks after being hit by a car, Ashley Richards is awake.
For her mom, it felt like the "weight of the world" was lifted off her shoulders when she opened her eyes.
"I'm still standing because I don't know how to fall right now, and that's what moms do," Suzanne Wilkins said. "That's what I've always done with my kids. I've taken on anything and everything. They are my life."
While Richards is awake and somewhat responsive, her injuries prevent her from being able to provide any information about what happened, Wilkins said.
She added that an "external fixator" for Richards hip — which was shattered in the crash — is also preventing her from getting an MRI.
Based on Richards' behavior — which Wilkins said ranges from completely unresponsive to aggravated or "pure and childlike" — doctors have determined that she damaged her frontal lobe, Wilkins said.
"It's just heart-wrenching to watch," she said, and added that Richards doesn't seem to remember who she is.
With a handful of surgeries complete and more in the works, Wilkins is just taking things day-by-day.
"We didn't think she would live, and yet she's alive. We didn't think she'd be awake, and yet she's awake ... I'm truly grateful to everybody and the outpouring of love," she said.
According to Robert Cannon, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, a state trooper visited the hospital Wednesday to try to talk to Richards.
"Her medical condition for the foreseeable future isn't going to allow for an interview," he said.
In an email Thursday, Cannon wrote that Richards' "significant injuries ... may impede her ability to provide information."
He added that they were still investigating the case and looking into all plausible scenarios. As of Thursday, the incident was still listed as hit and run, he said.
"We have gotten some very good leads," Wilkins said. "I have tried really had to keep my focus on my daughter and not the idiot ... that did this. ... I'm trying to put my faith in the Florida Highway Patrol. ... We're going to get this person, I have no doubt."