Nanny who saved child in Gold Coast crash talks

July 19, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Jennifer Anton says it could be months before she's able to walk again.

"I was supposed to be in two of my best friends' weddings, and just trips planned, you know, he kinda took that," she said as tears streamed down her face.

The 25-year-old has been in rehab since May 21 after being struck, along with others, by a City of Chicago vehicle on a Gold Coast sidewalk. The driver of the pickup, Streets and Sanitation worker Dwight Washington, had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to police.

"I was face down on the sidewalk on top of another gentleman, and the truck was on top of me and us," said Anton. "I could just feel that I was broken, and I could just feel that the bones were not, that I wasn't whole."

Anton had been caring that day for 20-month-old toddler Tyler Jones. She says she pushed the baby's stroller out of harm's way moments before impact.

"He missed the baby right there by about that much, by about a few inches," said witness Mark Marcovich.

"When I was first waking up, my first thoughts were, 'is she OK?'" said Anton.

Though the stroller tipped over, the baby was not seriously injured. Anton, however, suffered a broken pelvis and hip as well as severe leg and feet injuries.

"It's still going to be months until I'm back to being me and independent, and that's something that's really hard for me because I'm a really independent person," she said.

"We don't know how long she'll be in a wheelchair. We know at least through the end of this year, but we don't know how much longer after that," Kathy Anton, mother.

Anton is now suing Dwight Washington and the City of Chicago.

"He was a city employee. He was doing his job, and he happened to be drunk and drive the truck off the road and injure all these people. They haven't answered that allegation," said Dan Kotin, Anton's attorney.

The toddler has been a source of strength during her difficult recovery.

"She and I are really close, and so it was really good to see her. She hadn't forgotten me," she said.

Anton says she's currently on her parents' health insurance which has only covered some of her medical bills, and next year when she's 26 she will lose those benefits. A fund has been set up through Chase bank to help with her bills.

The city's legal department said it couldn't comment on the substance of the lawsuit.

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