Distraught that their relative was gravely injured by a hit-and-run driver — and her life reduced to that of a homeless person — her family identified her as the mother of six children and called on the community to help find whoever left her lying on a Medford street just before daybreak on Wednesday.
“She is more than just a homeless woman to us,” a family statement said, recalling fun-filled summers the extended family spent together in Maine.
Olivia Thornton, 30, suffered “traumatic brain injury, a broken spine, a ruptured spleen, and she broke all her ribs and both of her legs,” her family said Friday. She is on life support, they said, with an uncertain prognosis as doctors assess any brain damage.
“Olivia has a troubled life but she has people that care for her and they would like to see the person who hit her brought to justice,” the family said.
The mother and Thornton’s oldest daughter, a teenager, flew to her bedside from their Tennessee home.
“Olivia’s mother is heartbroken,” the family said. “We ask you to please pray for [Olivia’s] recovery.”
The motorist who hit Thornton on Norfleet Lane was driving a dark-colored pickup truck. Thornton was found lying on the road at about 5:50 a.m. and taken to Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue, police said.
Thornton’s own mother was one of 12, and her extended family was part of her childhood.
“Her aunts and cousins always had fun with her when she came up to Maine with her mom for the summer,” the family said.
“Because she was a city girl and she didn’t like the grass under her feet or the bugs that were constantly flying around her. She hated the great outdoors!”
By sharing these kinds of details, humanizing Thornton, the family hopes to inspire any witnesses to come forward.
“If you saw anything suspicious or if you know the owner of the vehicle, we beg you to please come forward,” the family said.
Anyone with information about the crash should call Sixth Squad detectives at 631-854-8652 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.