A Michigan Teen Gets a Lucky Shot at Life

A teen is shot four times, but a previous injury surprisingly saves her life.

ByABC News
June 13, 2007, 5:09 PM

June 14, 2007 — -- It was the radio call no police officer ever wants to hear: a report of a shooting at a high school with one person dead.

Police Officer Chad Schieber was the first on the scene at H.H. Dow High School in Midland, Mich., where 17-year-old David Turner was dead from a self-inflicted wound to the head. His girlfriend, 17-year-old Jessica Forsyth, lay on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds, but was still conscious.

Forsyth had been shot at close range. Her mother, Rhonda Poston, who witnessed the shooting from her car, held Forsyth's body, trying to simultaneously stop the blood and distract her daughter. Poston held her hand over the smoke that was coming out of Forsyth's back, where a bullet had punctured her skin. Forsyth repeatedly screamed to her mom, "I don't want to die. I don't want to die."

Miraculously, Forsyth survived, not just because her mother was there to care for her, but because of an extraordinary bit of luck she had been carrying with her for years: a six-inch titanium plate in her collar bone.

Her lucky charm was the result of a stream of bad luck. When she was 8 years old, Forsyth broke her collarbone when her brother pushed her off a merry-go-round. Five years later, when Forsyth was 14 years old, she fell off her bike and broke her collarbone again. This time, the bone split in half.

Her injury was so severe that doctors used a titanium plate about the length of a pencil to heal the fracture. Forsyth felt anything but lucky, and for years she tried to hide the scar on her collarbone.

The scar didn't keep Turner from falling in love with her. Their relationship started off happily, but when he started having abrupt mood changes, Forsyth said, it began to sour.

"We would break up and then he would ask me back out," she said. "And he would be sweet and I would say, 'Yeah.' And then we would break up again and he would do it again."