Volunteers rebuild playground, scene of horrific crash

Nicolle Peltier has remained strong and now all children will remain safe at the playground

Sloane Martin
September 22, 2018 - 6:41 pm
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One family is working to overcome a life-changing crash by helping rebuild a playground for neighborhood kids.

Hundreds of volunteers Saturday worked together putting up a mod pod climber, picnic tables and a whole new set of equipment at Jenny Lind elementary school in north Minneapolis.

Nicolle Peltier helped paint hopscotch and other games on the pavement. It was near this playground where three of her seven children were struck by an SUV fleeing police on June 11. 

Lily, 4, is healing from a bruising on the brain, but Peltier said she's happy to be back at school at Jenny Lind. Two-year-old Kayden was badly injured. He is recovering from a traumatic brain injury that makes him "irritable" sometimes. Kayden also had his spleen removed and is on antibiotics until he is five when doctors will reevaluate. He also has permanent a permanent orthopedic impairment restricting movement in his neck. Peltier says he continues to improve and she's remaining positive.

"You know, we're working through it," she said. "He's healing, he walking, he's talking. He does have nerve damage on his right side still. But we're blessed. In every way imaginable."

It's been a difficult time for the family of nine, including her husband who witnessed the crash. The family went back for the first time last week and she admitted that it wasn't easy. Since the beginning, she's remained stoic and supportive.

"I'm mom and my kids need me to be strong for them and that helps them be strong themselves," she said.

With help from Build it with KaBOOM! and Foresters Financial, which is financing the playgound, she's helping to make sure other kids are kept safe at the playground. When it's finished, it will feature barrier balls, to go along with the green and shade space and colorful new equipment.

"It makes my heart happy," she said. "I'm really happy to be here to heal and help my children feel safe at a park and I think leading by example is really helpful.

 Kabaar Powell, the man who was driving the SUV, was sentenced to 33 months in prison last month.