Woman Loses Leg After Being Struck by Suspects' Vehicle on North Philly Church Steps

“I can’t really let this bring me down because I’m going to get back regardless."

What to Know

  • A woman's left leg was amputated after she was struck by a vehicle outside a North Philadelphia church Thursday.
  • The vehicle was fleeing police following an armed robbery. Three men were arrested in connection to the robbery and crash.
  • Despite her pain and losing her leg, the woman remained positive while speaking with NBC10 from her hospital bed.

A woman lost her leg but is thankful to be alive less than a week after she was struck by a vehicle that was fleeing police while sitting on the steps of a North Philadelphia church.

Barbara “BJ” Brooks, 26, was outside the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church on Broad Street and Allegheny Avenue Thursday around 9:15 p.m. Suddenly, a gray Honda that was being pursued by police, sped onto North Broad Street, ran a red light at the intersection and collided with two other vehicles.

The impact caused the Honda to jump the curb and crash into the steps of the church, crushing Brooks’ legs.

“It happened real fast,” Brooks told NBC10 while in her hospital bed Monday. “All I saw were lights and fire and I was on the ground.”

The aftermath of the crash, which was caught on video by witnesses, shows a chaotic scene in which police struggle with suspects, a car burns and victims are dragged away.

Police say the four men inside the Honda were wanted in connection to an armed robbery on the 1900 block of North 7th Street. Three of the men, identified as Dakeith Jones, 19, Stephon Thomas, 19, and Tyrone Harris, 18, were arrested and charged with a slew of offenses, including robbery, criminal conspiracy, and reckless endangerment.

Brooks recalls calling her older sister, Shaakera Wade, moments after the crash.

“I was telling her, ‘Kera, I got hit by a car! I got hit by a car,’” Brooks said.

Brooks was taken to Temple University Hospital. When Wade arrived to see her sister, she was approached by doctors.

“They basically explained if they try to save her leg, she’ll lose her life,” Wade said. “If they amputate, basically, they’d be saving her life. So I made the decision to save her life.”

Doctors amputated Brooks' left leg.

“I lost my mother two years ago,” Wade said. “Can’t lose a sibling...I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Despite her pain, Brooks remains positive.

“I can’t really let this bring me down because I’m going to get back regardless,” she said.

Brooks told NBC10 she'll undergo at least one more surgery on her right leg which is broken in several places. She’ll then be released from the hospital and will live with her sister for a period of time before starting rehab to learn how to walk again.

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