Idaho Teen on Losing Leg After Surviving Car Crash That Left Her Hanging From Power Line for an Hour

Kennedy Littledike required 21 surgeries to fix all of her injuries following the crash. She says the moment her father told her that her leg was gone was one of hardest she has ever experienced. “The room was so heavy,” she says.

Kennedy Littledike from Nampa, Idaho, survived a terrifying car accident in 2021. The crash came as she was struggling to work through a hard breakup.

“I was emotional. I was a girl,” she tells Inside Edition Digital. “And so my two best friends at the time, they were like, 'Hey, let's go do something fun today to keep your mind off everything.'”

Kennedy, then 16, and her friends drove to a mountain near her house to watch the sunset. Then the teens headed home. 

“I can't remember what made me start crying again," she says. "Everyone's like, you should have pulled over. Yea, I would've. But it was so abrupt and happened so quickly.”

Kennedy realized what was happening as her car began veering off the road to the left. 

"I overcorrected too far, and I went off the road on the right side," she says. "My side of the vehicle hit the power pole, and we started flipping and rolling. We didn't have our seat belts. So when we were flipping, and I was the first one out, I wasn't on the ground. I was actually hanging in the power line by my broken leg.”

The way Kennedy hung on the power line caused severe injuries, but it also helped save her life. 

“In the process of getting thrown, my arm was actually torn off, was hanging on by the skin on my back, and then my femur was snapped over the wire and hanging in front of my face,” she says. "A lot of people ask, ‘How did you not bleed out?’ Well, the main artery in my leg was pinched off by the power line, and then the main artery in my arm was actually cauterized when I got electrocuted."

Kennedy was determined to fight until help arrived. 

“I remember I was drowning in my blood because it was running from my leg, it was running from my arm, and it was going in my nose, and I was just wiping it out because it was literally drowning me,” she says. "I didn't know what to do in that situation. I felt so helpless. And I remember I started to cry, and I remember telling myself, ‘If you cry, you're done.' I would die.”

A group of people gathered below Kennedy, who she talked to as she tried to stay away. All the while, she had no idea how badly she was injured. “The whole time I was up there, I was just uncomfortable. It wasn't like excruciating pain,” she says. “I wasn't aware of my injuries at the time."

After dangling from the power line for an hour, first responders began working to free her. 

“(A first responder) just grabbed my leg and had to take it out of the wire, and you just watch my body lifelessly fall on the stretcher,” she says. “They put the tourniquet on and had to take my bone back off the wire. And they said I screamed. And then, once I hit the stretcher, it was silent.”

Kennedy wasn’t sure if she would survive. 

“I can't remember if I said it in my mind or actually said it, but I remember feeling like saying, ‘Thank you for trying to save my life, but this is it for me.’ And I remember closing my eyes," she says.

“It's even hard for me to wrap my mind around it.”

Because of the extent of her injuries, Kennedy was airlifted to the University of Utah. She had a broken femur, a broken humerus bone, a broken clavicle and a brachial plexus injury. Doctors tried but couldn’t save her leg. 

“I had a total of five amputations because they tried to save as much as possible because the more leg that you have for a prosthetic leg to walk, the easier it is,” Kennedy says. “So they tried taking it at my knee, through my knee. My leg just kept rotting because the bone was broken so high up. Every other day, they were going in and taking more leg. And to go under surgery, over and over and over, to get more and more leg cut off. They'd finally just cut it off at the bone.”

Kennedy had 21 surgeries to fix all of her injuries. And she recalls the moment her father told her that her leg was gone. 

“And he came in the room, and he was like, ‘Kennedy, we have to take your leg,'” she says. “The room was so heavy.”

“And I was like, ‘Did either of my friends lose a limb?’ And he said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Well, I'm glad I'm the one that lost it since I was driving. And I just turned my head," she continues. "And in that moment, you're 16 years old. All your dreams that you had in your head, they're all gone."

Kennedy was in the hospital for seven weeks. It was during a physical therapy appointment that she saw her leg for the first time. 

“I remember asking them, ‘Is my gown covering my leg?’ And they said, ‘Yea, it's covering your leg,” she says. “So I got up, did my 10 squats, and I was feeling good, making jokes, all the things. I glanced down, and my gown was up, not covering my leg. And I remember looking down, and I looked at my dad, and I started bawling. I was like, 'You didn't tell me that it was short.' I have no femur left.”

The nurses urged Kennedy to touch her leg, which was upsetting to her at first. “Within 20 minutes, I was fine with it. I literally named it. I named my nub Gobi, and I made a whole dance for it,” she says. "I don't know what happened to me in the hospital, but I just had such a smooth transfer from such a bad mental health state to such a positive one.”

When Kennedy got home, she had to relearn to do daily tasks using one arm. Brushing her teeth, putting deodorant on, showering and putting her hair in a ponytail required extra effort because she felt so weak. But the people who love her helped make her more comfortable. 

“Our community actually came in, and they built us a whole walk-in shower in our bathroom," she says. "They built us a ramp to get into our house. They did crazy things for us. They definitely made that transition easier.”

A couple of months later, Kennedy began her senior year of high school. And her entire focus was on healing. 

“I had a really hard time with my energy levels because walking with a prosthetic leg is just so draining, and everything was so new,” she says. “If I wasn't going to school, I was in therapy, I was in physical therapy, I was in occupational therapy. I had shock therapy for my arm. I had hyperbaric therapy. I would literally spend four-and-a-half hours at therapy three, four times a week. And then I was doing school on top of it.”

Kennedy, now 19, shares daily life, details about her accident, and updates and funny anecdotes about her injuries on social media. "I kind of was like, well, I have a pretty sick story, and why not share it," she says. 

The crash completely transformed her outlook on life. 

“Before my accident, I struggled with mental health. I wanted to commit suicide," she says. "I did not ever really plan my future because I didn't think there was going to be one. I wasn't happy. I look back and I'm like, ‘Wow, you're pathetic.’ But because now, look at me. I'm in a whole different, harder situation, but I'm so much happier.”

For anyone dealing with a similar situation, Kennedy has advice that's rooted in tough love. “Don't feel bad for yourself,” she says. “That's the worst thing you can do is sit and feel bad for yourself and be like, ‘Why me? Why?’ Because you're not going to get an answer. You have your whole life ahead of you. Getting up, working for what you want, having goals, pushing yourself, and not feeling bad for yourself, that's going to be hard too. But at least you're going to be happier that way.”

Kennedy is now a public speaker. Although sharing her story is tough, she does it to help others. 

“And that helped me knowing that I've helped others," she says. "You know how many people have said, 'I wear my seatbelt. I never wore my seatbelt, but I do now because of you.’”

“I would go through this accident. I would go through the pain, I would go through it all again, just to have that rewarding feeling, and feeling like I made a difference in someone's life," she says. "So I love it. I really do. And it makes me feel like I make a difference in this world.”

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