Michigan native documents progress after crash that immobilized her

Taeja Smith went from covering the news to becoming a part of it herself after a car crash pushed her into a hospital bed and out of the profession. 

"I went from chasing these stories to becoming the story myself," the Michigan-native said.

The social media post pinned to the top of her Twitter profile celebrated the occasion she became a senior producer for a TV station in Memphis. That was in January 2022. But in the summer is when her life changed.

"Someone sideswiped me and I ended up losing control and crashing into a concrete median. I was in and out of consciousness a lot," she said. "I woke to nurses picking glass off my body and then I spent 16 days in the hospital."

Once a journalist, always a journalist, she has taken to documenting the experience. 

That's because the crash didn't just send her to the hospital. It immobilized Smith, forcing her to learn to walk again.

"I didn’t take my first steps until September 7th of 2022, but I was still in the wheelchair and I didn’t get out of the wheelchair officially until January of this year."

Her days confined to a wheelchair opened her eyes to life for those who are differently-abled or struggle with mobility. People "look at you differently," she says. Through it all, she says she's encountered some of the nicest people who use wheelchairs. 

As well as some of the meanest.

While the experience stopped any plans she may have had for the future, she decided early on that it was up to her to define how she would proceed.

"The one question that I kept asking when I was in that wheelchair was what woman was I going to become," she said.

She talked about the crash, which she labels "The Accident" in a blog post on her website. Read more about it here.