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The “worst crash”— VCU Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center saves teen’s life

At this year’s Shining Knight Gala, Kristen Mallory’s story was shared and her trauma team honored.

Kristen Mallory and officer Katelyn Stonnell Kristen Mallory and officer Katelyn Stonnell, who arrived at the scene of the crash

By Esther Benenson

It was June 9, 2013, when then 16-year-old Kristen Mallory’s life changed forever. She and her mom were 10 minutes from home when a drunk driver ran a red light and struck their car at about 75 miles an hour. It took firemen 45 minutes to cut Kristen out of their car.

“It is by far the worst crash I’ve ever worked where someone has survived,” said Katelyn Stonnell of Chesterfield Police. “Kristen inside that car and the mangled metal, and the engine’s sitting on top of her lap.”

Kristen was rushed to VCU Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center, where the trauma team worked day and night to save her life.

Kristen Mallory in hospital

Today, Kristen takes 50 pills a day and gets a daily infusion. But she survived, and although she suffers in pain daily from injuries sustained in the crash, Kristen continues to share her story to as many people as possible. She hopes that by educating people about the dangers of drunk driving, she can keep others from going through what she has and ultimately save lives.

Kristen’s story was shared May 8 at VCU Health’s Shining Knight Gala — held virtually this year due to COVID-19. Each year at the gala, dozens of “Shining Knights” are recognized for their role in saving the life of one specific trauma patient. Net proceeds from the gala benefit injury and violence prevention programs at and through the VCU Medical Center.

Kristen went on to graduate high school and, through the trauma program’s Project IMPACT and her 501c3 non-profit Mallory’s Movement Against Drunk Driving, she spends much of her time traveling to high schools, colleges, prisons, police academies, military bases and other venues to tell her story. Project IMPACT strives to reduce and prevent unintentional injuries through a student-targeted injury and violence prevention program that provides education and awareness about the realities of trauma.

“It really makes me proud that she is taking something that could’ve been so negative and turning it into a positive, working to make people aware of what a few minutes of a poor decision can make and remind people how precious life can be,” said Mike Mallory, her dad.

Hear Kristen’s story.



Bryan Sides and his care team were also honored at the Shining Knight Gala. 

If you would like to support VCU Medical Center’s Level I Trauma Center or its injury and violence prevention programs, you can make a gift today. Your kind support is greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in having Kristen come speak to your group, please send an e-mail to mallorysmovement@yahoo.com.

You can follow Kristen’s journey through her Facebook page, Mallory’s Movement Against Drunk Driving, or her Instagram page, @mallorysmovement.

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