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Amid Mother’s Misery, a Daughter’s Plea

July 13, 2018

Donna Bettencourt, of Lowell, was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on July 3. Doctors had to amputate her leg. COURTESY PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- The hit-and-run driver who struck a Lowell woman on a mobility scooter last Tuesday changed her life forever.

Donna Bettencourt, 46, has been forced to have her leg amputated after the hit-and-run accident police continue to investigate.

Bettencourt is hospitalized at Boston Medical Center, according to her daughter, Mariah Martell, 22. Bettencourt was on her way back to her Lowell home on Middlesex Street, when she was struck by a Mercury Sable that fled the scene.

“It’s really upsetting because in 2015 I almost lost her,” Martell said. “She was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome. It’s a rare disease that your immune system attacks your nerves. So, her legs totally lost function.”

Martell said her mother was in rehabilitation for eight months to a year, to help her walk again. In 2017, Bettencourt moved in with Martell in Lowell.

“She was doing great. She was walking with her walker and cane and just used her scooter for longer distances,” Martell said. “The doctors tried everything they could, but the muscle and the tissue is dying in her leg and they had to amputate it.”

Bettencourt underwent surgery to get her right leg amputated from the knee down Thursday, Martell said. She said they will have to wait until Monday to see about her knee, where the bone is shattered. Martell said her mother is strong, but the experience has been traumatizing.

The recovery process is going to be a long one, but to help with medical expenses, Martell launched a GoFundMe campaign. The goal is to reach $20,000 in donations.

There has not yet been an arrest made in the incident. Interim Police Superintendent Jonathan Webb said the department is following leads as they come up, but detectives have not yet been able to identify the car involved in the hit-and-run.

“I’m sorry to hear that the victim’s injuries are so severe,” Webb said. “That’s got to be traumatic for them to go through.”

Webb described the vehicle as a dark-colored Mercury Sable with a model year possibly between 200 and 2004. The vehicle should have front-end damage, is missing the front grill and may have blue paint transfer on it.

Martell said she has a message to the driver responsible.

“Please, I want them to turn themselves in, or if somebody knows them, to turn them in,” Martell said. “Nobody deserves this, but my mom, she really doesn’t deserve this.”

Webb urged anyone with information to contact the department’s tip line at 978-459-TIPS (8477).

To visit the GoFundMe page, visit www.gofundme.com/help-my-mom-accident-victim .

Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt

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