Stray bullet hits 20-year-old in Flint, leaving her paralyzed

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 3:44 PM EDT
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(7/25/2019) - "She has some bad days, and you can't - that's gonna come and go a lot lately," Dad, Derek Dantzler said. "But, for the most part, she's always looking ahead."

That's exactly the attitude Olivia Dantzler needs as she fights to walk again.

The 20-year-old Flushing High School graduate was helping a friend in the early morning hours of July 5th. She took her to a home on South Grand Traverse Street in Flint to pick up the friend's brother. But, as soon as the man and his friend got in the car, and Olivia put the car in reverse, they were caught in a drive-by shooting.

"I'm still trying to understand, you know," Dantzler said. "We're still trying to understand how this happened. You know, what's going on around this area?"

He explained his daughter immediately lost feeling in her legs, causing her to crash the car into a pole.

He shared a photo with us of where the bullet went through the window. Dantzler said it initially hit Olivia in the shoulder.

"Went through her back and hit her rib, broke her rib, that punctured her lung and the bullet's lodged in her spine, in her spinal cord," he explained.

The three others in her car weren't injured.

Police said the shooters sped off, but were caught a few days later. 34-year-old Ashley Jennings and 27-year-old Troy Williams are now facing multiple charges, including assault with intent to murder.

"She's glad to be here, you know, we're glad to have her here," Dantzler said. "It could've been worse. Anytime we get down about what happened, we realize we still get to see her smile and hear her voice, hear her laugh. So that helps a lot."

Olivia is currently paralyzed from the waist down. She was moved to a hospital in Grand Rapids last week where she's learning to live life in a wheelchair.

The 20-year-old is not expected to walk ever again.

"They say she won't but you know through all the prayers we get from all over the country, all the support that we have. It's just been amazing," Dantzler said. "She's gonna be a productive member of society, you know. She's gonna help someone 'cause that's how she is."

Click on the 'Related Links' section of this story for how you can support this family as they continue to travel to Grand Rapids for Olivia's care and eventually works to make their home wheelchair accessible.

There is a fundraiser at Luigi's (2132 Davison Road) in Flint on September 15th from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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