, Derry, New Hampshire

January 23, 2014

Derry teen continues recovery following crash

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — A Derry teenager continues to recover following a deadly New Year’s Eve crash on Gulf Road.

Johanna Morse, 16, continues to make progress following the crash that killed 17-year-old Kyle Ross of Derry, the driver of the car.

A third passenger, Thompson Upham-Davis, was not seriously injured.

Johanna is now going through extensive therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center and making great strides.

“I tell her all the time she’s a miracle child,” said Susan Murray, a family friend. “She’s doing really well.”

Murray visits Johanna often and said she is aware of the accident and what happened to her friend.

It was hard news to hear.

“Kyle was her boyfriend,” Murray said. “She took it pretty hard, but is doing OK.”

Having a positive support group surrounding her every day helps her physical and mental state to improve, Murray said. The teen’s day-to-day schedule also includes intense speech, occupational and physical therapy, Murray said.

Johanna is a sophomore at Pinkerton Academy. She is an active soccer player and also participates in the school’s Academy of Finance program.

Finance Academy adviser Lila Mazzola said Johanna is a bright, articulate, motivated student.

“Her personality matches what you see,” Mazzola said. “She’s always smiling.”

An online donation site is helping support Johanna and her family; about $11,000 already has been collected to help with medical bills and other costs. The site will remain active through February.

Murray helps the family post daily updates on Johanna’s progress.

A comment posted last week said the teen was receiving many good wishes, cards, gifts and flowers.

“And hearing from people she hasn’t talked to in a while is bringing back wonderful memories,” the site said. “All these thoughts of love and kindness surround her on a daily basis.”

In addition to the online site, other efforts are planned to support Johanna and her family.

On Jan. 28, several of Johanna’s former middle school teachers will host a benefit event at Sizzle Bistro in Manchester, where a percentage will go to support her medical expenses.

Murray said Johanna’s mother, Sarah, has never left her daughter’s side.

“She’s there 24/7,” Murray said. “She’s definitely strong, and very supportive of everything.”

Murray gives daily updates on Johanna’s progress on the site and said every day is better than the last.

“She’s making great progress but she’s not where she needs to be,” she said.

Anyone wanting to help the family can visit and search “Johanna Morse.”