Burnsville Family Finds Healing after Fatal Crash in Kansas

Updated: 10/18/2013 7:41 AM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

Lesa Hess sits around the kitchen table in her Burnsville home with her daughter, Shannon, and son, Adam. These two teenagers have been through a lot.

"I think the healthier they get the harder the loss gets," Hess said.

Hess actually had three kids. Nineteen-year-old Taylor died in July while driving her siblings to El Paso, Texas, to visit family. 

"I was sleeping when we actually hit the semi," Adam said.

Adam was in the backseat. Shannon was asleep in the passenger seat. They were heading south down Highway 54 around 7:30 in the morning.

"As soon as we stopped I kind of actually realized what was going on," Shannon said.

Taylor crossed the centerline and hit a semi head on. Hess says she got a call around 9 a.m. that morning.

"It was a nurse from the hospital from Dodge City. And she said your children were in a tragic accident," Hess said.

She flew down immediately.

"Knowing that Taylor was gone, there was nothing I could do. These children needed me, both of them and I needed them," she said.

Shannon lost her appendix and part of her small intestine. Adam tore all of his stomach muscles, lost parts of his large and small intestines and injured his back. In the three months since the accident, he has had 16 surgeries. Saturday was his first day back home.

"It feels good to be home. I can finally just walk down the stairs and get something to eat if I want," Adam said.

But the reality is that Taylor, the fun-loving college soccer player, is never coming home.

"I still keep expecting her to walk through the door, talking a mile a minute," Hess said.

They all say there's a feeling like a piece of them is gone. Taylor may be gone in the physical form, but her essence is still very much alive.

"Just thinking about the future and her not being here is hard," Shannon said.

Watch more of our interview with Hess by clicking here.