Melissa Reynolds, a cheerleader from Murrieta Valley High School, may not be able to rally crowds of students again, her attorney said.
She suffered a broken neck and remains bedridden since she and three other cheerleaders were injured in a Oct. 16 crash involving former Murrieta Mayor Alan Long.
“Their lives are going to change because of this,” said her attorney, Jean-Simon Serrano.
The teen and fellow cheerleaders Chloe and Camille Rogers and Adrienna Williams are now suing Long for damages, saying he was negligent when he drove drunk and crashed into them, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Riverside County Superior Court.
The girls, who are 14 to 17, were headed home after attending a school pep rally, their attorney said.
They were two blocks from their homes when Long, who was driving his full-size vehicle south on Jefferson Avenue toward Lily Avenue about 8:20 p.m., crashed into the back of the Chrysler 300 the girls were in, police said.
The impact of the crash caused the Chrysler’s rear window to shatter, severely damaged the rear bumper and lodged the passenger doors shut, their attorney said. The car, he said, was totaled.
Long, who is also a battalion chief with the Anaheim Fire Department, showed “signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment,” police said.
Long helped the push the girls’ vehicle to the side of the road, but he didn’t exchange many words with their mothers, their attorney said.
“They never received an apology,” Serrano said.
Long, 44, of Murrieta publicly announced his apology to the girls.
Days after the crash, Long announced his resignation. But he went on to win a reelection bid, earning a seat on the Murrieta City Council.
Responding the girls’ lawsuit, Long’s attorney, Virginia Blumenthal, said lawsuits are commonly filed after a traffic crash.
“He is concerned, obviously,” she said.
Long, who is still employed by the Anaheim Fire Department, hasn’t publicly addressed his reelection win. Blumenthal said he is not ready to talk about his plans.
For the girls, the aftermath of the crash remains very real, their attorney said.
The girls have been attacked on social media by Long’s supporters, he said.
“It is a very tragic accident,” Serrano said. “These girls are completely innocent victims in this.”