DALLAS — In life comes the unexpected. What matters is how one recovers when the unexpected occurs.
It’s a lesson one Denton High School teacher is currently enduring.
Loressa Pecoraro, a first-year family and consumer science teacher, had just completed her first in-service day working at Denton High. It was the afternoon of Aug. 14, and she was traveling home eastbound on U.S. Highway 380 near FM2931.
And then it happened.
A pickup driver traveling in the westbound lane collided with Pecoraro’s red Ford Focus. The truck then sideswiped another vehicle.
Pecoraro was the only person injured in the accident, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Her family says she sustained a punctured lung and broken bones in her legs, foot, hand, arms and ribs. She remains hospitalized at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Monday, she would have started her first day of school as a full-time teacher.
Though wounded, her faith in God and positive outlook on the future haven’t wavered.
“I am in a lot of pain and I hurt a lot, but I have anticipation for every day seeing what happens next, seeing when’s the next surgery and what’s going to go on,” Pecoraro said. “I want people to know that I don’t quit just because there is a bump in the road. Jesus is the one that heals, and only a miracle could walk away from that car accident.”
Pecoraro responded to questions from the Denton Record-Chronicle via email this week with assistance from family.
She said the only thing she remembers from her accident is waking up in the hospital.
Lonny Haschel, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the pickup driver had fallen asleep and veered into oncoming traffic.
The roadway was closed for three hours while the accident scene was investigated, and Pecoraro was transported by air ambulance with serious injuries to Dallas, he said. At this point in the investigation, Haschel said, no charges have been filed.
Shortly after the accident, Pecoraro met the driver who hit her. She said she forgave him.
“That’s what Jesus would do,” she said.
Since the accident, Pecoraro’s family, friends, co-workers and church members have rallied around her, her parents and six siblings. People have filed in and out of a waiting room at Parkland to bring food, cards and small gifts and just be there to sit, offer encouragement and pray.
“Prayer has been the key,” said her father, John Pecoraro. “It’s getting us through it and her through it.”
Well-wishers have also pitched in to help with Loressa Pecoraro’s medical expenses online through a GoFundMe page. The fund topped $16,000 by Saturday evening.
John Pecoraro said his daughter has a long recovery ahead. He said doctors have said it could be up to a year before she fully recovers.
Her colleagues at Denton High have been pitching in to help Loressa Pecoraro while she recovers. In the short time she’s been on the staff, she’d formed an immediate connection with her co-workers, Principal Dan Ford said. Co-workers are now looking to put together funds to make a large donation for Pecoraro’s medical expenses, and they also intend to help with any projects her family might need, Ford said.
“She’s going to be missed, but she’s a Bronco and I’m looking forward to her coming back,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are going out to her and the family. We’re wishing her a speedy recovery and we’ll support her any way we can.”
Loressa Pecoraro said the support she’s received has meant a lot. She looks forward to one day returning to the classroom.
Her mother, Pam Pecoraro, said the fact her daughter survived her accident is a miracle.
“Everybody has a story, and this is going to be part of Loressa’s story,” Pam Pecoraro said. “We all need to make our story count for the benefit of others and for the benefit of drawing people to the Lord to know who he is and to realize that Loressa’s not the first person that’s suffered, and everybody else suffers in different ways too, but it’s what we do with all of that. Circumstances happen, whatever the circumstances are, but there’s a bigger picture and there’s a purpose in what happened to her.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.