Community rallies around Portsmouth teen in a coma after crash

Tonasia Edwards

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth high school student remains in a coma with a brain injury, broken pelvis and broken collarbone nearly two weeks after a car crash.

Tonasia Edwards, who loved ones call Nada, was driving when the accident happened on Oct. 14 around 7 p.m. near Deep Creek Boulevard and S. Military Highway. The circumstances surrounding the crash are still unclear, according to a police spokesperson.

Edwards’ mother, Alice, says Nada has since undergone brain surgery. In the last few days, the 16-year-old has tried moving her arms and opening her eyes, but Mrs. Edwards says her daughter has yet to wake up.

One of the #Pray4Nada bracelets.

“Never did I think I was going to get here and she wasn’t going to be able to respond to me,” said Alice Edwards, who was away in Miami on vacation when she got a call from her four-year-old son at the crash scene.

From Florida, she encouraged her young son to call police.

“He said ‘mommy, mommy, mommy, Nada’s dead,” she recalls. “‘Nada’s dead. She won’t move. There’s blood,'” the four-year-old told her.

Luckily, Nada survived the crash. She got trapped inside her Honda four-door vehicle and was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Nada, a junior at Wilson High School in Portsmouth, has been surrounded at the hospital by family, friends, classmates and teammates from the cheerleading team since the crash.

“I don’t know exactly how she is feeling, but I know she knows she’s loved from everyone,” said Imani Barnes, Nada’s best friend. “If she was awake right now to see all this love, she would be so happy. She would have that bright smile on her face.”

In an effort to raise money for the Edwards family, Barnes has started selling t-shirts and key chains that read: #Pray4Nada.

“I feel like with [the key chain] she is always with me,” Barnes said. “I always have this on my side.”

“When I was with Tonasia and talking to her, I made sure she knew that I am not going to give up on her because she is not giving up on us,” Barnes said.

Mrs. Edwards says her daughter’s recovery will take patience, but she remains optimistic she’ll get to leave the hospital to live out her dreams.

“She is a fighter. She is going to be okay. Keep praying, Lord knows keep praying, because if anyone can help my baby it’s God.”

Nada’s four-year-old brother and a friend were also in the car at the time of the accident, but they were not seriously injured.

Those interested in purchasing a t-shirt (available in all sizes for $18) or a key chain ($6) can email Barnes. Family members have also set up an online fundraising page.