Overcoming Tragedy

Senior Elizabeth Shepard returns to school after the loss of boyfriend and limb


Jaynie Sorenson

Senior Elizabeth Shephard doig her work after her return to school.

Emalee Cantlin, Editor-in-Chief

On August 18 at 3:15 p.m., senior Elizabeth Shepard’s trip to see her mother took a fatal turn for the worst.

While riding in a car with boyfriend Bryan Bevier and his mother Marie Wolschlager, the vehicle, driven by Wolschlager, collided with another. Suddenly, the car was off the road and dismantled. The three passengers lay inside, unconscious and injured, awaiting rescue from the jaws of life.

18 year-old Shepard was air-lifted from the scene to a Saginaw area hospital, where it was discovered that she had sustained injuries to both legs and pelvis, a fractured jaw, and bruising on both lungs. Shepard also required temporary breathing assistance.

Due to the extent of her injuries, she was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Here, Shepard underwent several procedures to save her life, including the amputation of her leg above the knee.

Shepard does not remember much from the accident, but she does recall waking up in the hospital, her mother at her bedside, in pain and afraid.

Upon finding out about her missing limb, doctors informed her that she would experience pain, but that she would receive a prosthetic leg and would learn to walk again.

“I thought, ‘at least I’m alive’,” said Shepard.

It was not until a week later that she was told that her boyfriend, Bevier, had passed away at the hospital shortly after his arrival, and that Wolschlager died on the scene of the accident.

“I felt numb at first,” said Shepard.”[I thought] about all the good times we had.[The hardest part] was knowing I would never see him again.”

According to Shephard, she and Bevier met each other in school. She fell for his kindness and the love he showed her, and they had been together for over three years.

“No matter what, I love him. He will always be in my heart,” said Shepard. “I’ll remember him as the sweet and caring man he was.”

Even after the devastation of her injuries and losing the person she cared for, Shepard knew she had to keep moving forward. Her mother had played a large role in keeping her motivated and supporting Shepard’s recovery.

“It gets easier,” said Shepard. “You will always have [that person] in your heart, but you can’t live in the past.”

Life since returning home from the hospital has been a struggle for Shepard. She is getting used to needing help with everyday tasks like carrying things such as food and drinks, getting in and out of public places, and going up stairs. However, she is thankful to be surrounded by family and friends.

Shepard has been doing rehabilitation therapy to regain strength and ability to walk. As well, during the first trimester, she took a home-bound English class with the help of Special Education teacher Mrs. Hickey.

“I’m getting stronger every day,” said Shepard. “I’m trying to get back on my feet and get back to school.”

Shepard returned to Northwest for the second trimester to finish her senior year. If all goes as planned, she will be able to graduate with the class of 2015.

After high school, she wants to continue her education and pursue a career in nursing. Shepard’s primary goal, though, is to live a happy and loving life.

“I’m proud of myself,” said Shepard. “Even though I lost my leg and Bryan, I still keep looking forward.”