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“All I can do is cry and pray:” Woman relives West Allis crash that left her paralyzed

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Pat Wilken

NEW BERLIN -- Few can imagine the pain that Pat Wilken describes.

Wilken, 71, was paralyzed when another driver slammed into her car at a West Allis intersection in April. The other driver, Amy Knecht of West Allis, faces a felony charge for causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

From her bed at a New Berlin nursing home, Wilken said she is paralyzed from the chest down and has nerve damage that makes it hard to breathe. Family members said medical bills have reached the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are asking for help.

"All I can do is cry and pray," said Wilken.

Pat Wilken

76th and Beloit

76th and Beloit crash courtesy: Mike Allan

Wilken can remember a lot about April 26, the day of the crash. She said she was driving home from Stein's Garden and Home in Greenfield, where she had bought six pink geraniums.

Amy Knecht

"I went through that green light, and I didn't know what hit me," said Wilken.

Milwaukee County prosecutors said Knecht was speeding when she drove through a red light at 76th Street and Beloit Road, hitting Wilken's car. Wilken said she was immediately unable to move her arms.

Medical procedures followed. During that time, she was unable to see her husband of 32 years, who was ill and died two weeks ago.

"He died of a broken heart, and I was the light of his life," said Wilken.

Wilken's family is hoping someone can help with her specific injury.

"If there was any type of organization that could help in her situation, we've got open ears," said Larry Hotelling, Wilken's brother-in-law.

Larry Hotelling

Hotelling said he and his wife have moved to the Milwaukee area from South Carolina to help find care for Wilken. He said Wilken's possessions are in six boxes in his basement. Most of them are filled with clothes.

"She can't even wear them," he said, choking back tears.

FOX6 News asked Wilken if she had anything to say to Knecht, the woman accused of hurting her so badly.

"I forgave her right on the spot. I have not one feeling against her," said Wilken.

Knecht faces 12 years and six months in prison. She is due back in court at the end of August for a status conference.

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