WESTCHESTER — A Southland community is rallying behind the recovery of a 20-year-old actress who was struck by a driver while on her bike.

Those close to her say Brittany Gunnell was riding her bike home from theater rehearsal in Westchester last Monday when she collided with an SUV, suffering serious head injuries.

“What I ask for her is prayers, just continued prayers for Brittany…Brittany Evita O’Bien Gunnell,” her mother told CBS2.

Gunnell’s mother and sister happened to drive up to the accident moments later.

“I just leaned down — her sister and I found her — we scooped her up in our arms and I just kept telling her, ‘I love you, Brittany, mommy loves you, mommy’s here, the doctor’s on their way,’” her mother said.

The passionate actress and singer underwent surgery for a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

Gunnell was in a medically-induced coma Monday night with friends and family keeping vigil around the clock.

“I just want her beautiful brain and her beautiful heart back,” said friend Megan Durkin.

“This accident happened to the most undeserving person so she could learn the lesson that we didn’t have to,” said friend Laura Kaiser. “We’re just waiting, we just can’t wait.”

Drama teacher Carla Wynn said Gunnell’s talent is matched only by her kindness.

“I heard her sing and I’ve been teaching for 25 years and it was like this was one of the best singers, but it was her sweetness,” Wynn said.

There has been an outpouring of support for Gunnell from people who knew her from theater to Notre Dame Academy to UC Berkeley to Santa Monica College.

“We know that Brittany will be here again with us singing and dancing and I ask that everyone keep that in their heart, and in their soul and in their spirit,” her mother said.

Gunnell’s mother is keeping a journal on her daughter’s progress at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/brittanygunnell.


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