Family of NYC architect left ‘vegetative’ after hit-and-run slam heartless insurers
The family of a woman left with severe brain damage after being run-down by a New York City driver said insurance companies are refusing to pay for treatment because she won’t recover from her near ‘vegetative state.’
Mimi Silver Liebenberg, 37, was run over by Clossie Spencer, 29, last August as she crossed the street while apartment hunting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Spencer backed into Liebenberg with an SUV while he was parking, then fled the scene after seeing what he did. He was finally arrested last week and charged with reckless driving, assault, and leaving the scene of an accident with injury.
Liebenberg was left in a coma for seven weeks after the accident, and upon emerging was left unable to speak, control her body, had lost her memory, and was entirely unable to take care of herself.
Doctors have said Liebenberg’s condition is unlikely to ever improve, and her family said insurers have used that prognosis to stop paying for treatment.
Mimi Silver Liebenberg, 37, was run over last August as she crossed the street while apartment hunting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn
Liebenberg’s sister, Creecy Richardson-Creef, told the New York Daily News the situation was a ‘nightmare that won’t end.’
‘Our mother, who’s 63 years old, has been with my sister for the last five and a half months in all these hospitals and traumatic brain injury facilities,’ she said. ‘It’s taken a toll on my mom and her health, as well.’
She said insurance companies have given up on her sister’s recovery, and that getting them to pay for treatment has become a full time job.
‘They don’t think it’s medically necessary, that’s their excuse,’ Richardson-Creef said. ‘She’s treated as less than human.’
After recovering awakening from her coma, Liebenberg was left barely able to function.
‘She couldn’t control her arms and legs and had to be restrained so she wouldn’t hurt herself,’ her sister said. ‘In her mind, she thinks she’s speaking clearly, but what we hear is nonsense. She gets very frustrated.’
Richardson-Creef added that her sister’s memory unreliable, adding to the daily trauma of her new life.
‘We have to tell her, again and again, she was run over by a car,’ she said. ‘Every time, she’s shocked and horrified all over again.’
Pacific Street near Buffalo Ave, where Liebenberg was run over as she walked in a crosswalk
Liebenberg had been working her ‘dream job’ as an architect before the accident.
‘She went back to school and graduated,’ her sister said. ‘She loved her job and she was so good at it.’
‘She had finally gotten there and now she is just going to be somebody who has to be on Medicaid and get government benefits and be disabled.’
‘It’s like she’s there, but she’s not,’ she said. ‘She lost her dignity and independence and there’s nothing we can do to help her. She’s been robbed of her life.’
‘She loved being in New York,’ Richardson-Creef said. ‘She loved the art and music and the energy. She was somebody who cared about people and defended people who were underrepresented and misunderstood. Now she can’t walk and she can’t brush her teeth by herself.’
Spencer was arrested last week, months after the accident.
Footage from August 14 showed him driving fast in reverse down Pacific Street near Buffalo Ave, before running over Liebenberg as she walked in a crosswalk.
In the footage, he could be seen getting out of his car and looking down at Liebenberg where she lay before getting back into his SUV and driving away.
It is believed he was looking for a parking spot when he struck Liebenberg.
‘I just don’t understand that,’ Richardson-Creef said.
‘I’m happy they’ve arrested him and I hope the DA will prosecute him to the fullest extent allowed by law because this has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to my family.’
‘She didn’t do anything wrong, she was just crossing the street,’ she said. ‘I want her life to matter because it matters to me and to my kids and to my poor mom.’