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Rachel Stump looks forward to returning to Ohio State in recovery

Courtesy of Rachel Stump

Rachel Stump just wants her license back.

The first-year student got her drivers license revoked after being hit by a car in an Aug. 19 drunk-driving accident that put her in a coma for several days.

“They hold your license when you have a brain injury because they don’t know if you’re going to come out of it with the same abilities, so I’m going to retake my driving test on the 12th (of December),” Stump said.

Stump was hit by a fellow OSU student with a blood alcohol content of 0.19 traveling southbound on North High Street near Chittenden Avenue, according to a report from the Columbus Division of Police.

Stump’s BAC was not measured on the scene of the accident and has not been released. Columbus Police Sgt. Richard Weiner said if it was taken at the hospital it is likely protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Despite what Stump said the doctors told her family, she has had a “miraculous” recovery.

“It just feels like a bad dream, like that stuff didn’t even happen to me,” she said.

Stump has been recovering since leaving the hospital in September in her hometown of Troy, Ohio, and she continues to improve.

Stump has an appointment scheduled for Wednesday that is expected to be her last physical evaluation where she will be cleared to work out or do other activities that might put her head under pressure.

After that, she said she’s going to take her driving test.

Stump said she doesn’t expect to have any lasting effects from the accidents, but that the doctors told her it might take her a little longer to learn new things.

Stump intends to return to OSU to take one or two classes Spring Semester if she can. She has to undergo one more tests that hasn’t yet been scheduled before she can do that, however, If she does return in the spring, Stump said she would commute from home.

She plans to return to OSU as a full-time student next fall, and has signed a lease for an apartment on East 11th Avenue, near where her Chittenden and High Street accident took place. Long-time friend and first-year in biochemistry Riley Isely picked out the apartment for the two, and said that “when I was looking for apartments, (the accident) didn’t really cross my mind.”

Isely said Stump is not one to dwell on things.

“I think it will be hard for her to adjust to living so close to where she was hit, but she’s a strong person and won’t dwell on it,” she said.

Isely and Stump have been friends since middle school, and were excited to attend OSU together. Isely said she’s excited about Stump’s return to OSU next year, and “finally being able to experience college together — finally.”

Isely found out about the accident the day she moved onto campus, and that she was “pretty much supposed to die.”

She said it’s still strange to see her out and about and healthy.

Stump has had little contact with the driver, who did not respond to The Lantern‘s requests for comment. However Weiner said there had been no changes to the pending charges in the case.

Stump was given a citation for pedestrian in the roadway, according to the report.

The two met face-to-face during a mid-October hearing with the university to see what his punishment, if any, would be for the accident.

“He couldn’t say much because a lot of his charges were still pending, but he did make a statement that he was sorry everyone has to be there. He didn’t say anything to me directly,” she said of the driver.

Stump said that in a way, she feels bad for the driver, who she said probably thought the short drive to his house would be harmless.

Fall Semester was marked with several other campus area accidents, including a Sept. 5 incident where first-year James Daniel Hughes was run over by a dump truck while riding his bike near Woodruff Avenue. Hughes lost a leg as a result of the accident. The day after Hughes’ accident, OSU student Yifan Gu was struck by a bicyclist near Chumley’s on High Street, and was transported to the Wexner Medical Center with injuries.

Other bicycle and pedestrian accidents were documented as well.

Stump said she had heard of the other accidents and the other students that had been injured.

“I’m blessed to be where I am, but its so unfair that other people don’t have the same luck,” she said of her fellow OSU students. 

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