Teenager paralyzed in hit-and-run returns home

SEATTLE -- Seattle's overcast weather never looked so good to Mariah Boehm.

The 17-year old went home Tuesday after spending nearly 10 weeks in hospital beds. First responders had given her a 10 percent chance of survival, her father said, after a driver hit her as she was walking home from taking a high school exam on May 29.

"It's been really tough because at the beginning I didn't want to do anything," Boehm said, as she sat in her wheelchair outside Seattle Children's Hospital. "I was like, this big thing happened. It's hard to get to sleep because you're crying. You can't move, but you sorta gotta push on."

Police are still investigating the case and have not made any arrests. They are awaiting the results of a search warrant, said Terri Vickers, a spokeswoman for the Renton Police Department.

Authorities say a driver drifted onto the shoulder of the road in the 800 block of Duvall Ave. NE, hitting Boehm. The driver then drove away but later returned.

Boehm survived the accident but is paralyzed from the hips down. She's endured months of physical therapy and has been learning how to get around a new ADA-friendly home in Federal Way.

On Tuesday afternoon, her father wheeled her up a ramp and into her bedroom. A large poster - a special game mat signed by players of 'Magic the Gathering' nationwide - now hangs on the wall. The same community helped raise nearly $70,000 for Boehm's medical expenses.

I've learned that it's okay to cry when you're frustrated. It's okay to get frustrated," Boehm said. "It isn't the end of the world and everything's going to get better, even though you might not think it's going to."

"I think she's even stronger now because of this. She's going to grow from this and we're all going to grow from it," added her dad, Tony Pagliocco. "We're going to establish a new normal for us and that's just going to be it."

Pagliocco said he was frustrated there hasn't been an arrest in the case, but that he understands the investigation takes time.

"I've put my faith in the system and I believe the Renton Police Department is doing their job," he said. "I would be happier with quicker response but what it boils down to is this lady needs to pay for what she did."