Coma victim left with nothing after city auctions her belongings

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis woman is picking up the pieces after a tragic turn of events left her with nothing but her identity.

After awaking from a coma, Terry Jean Place is now strong enough to share her story.

"I've lost everything," said Place.  "Everything, everything," she repeated.

Place is starting from scratch.

"One minute took my life away, and I'll never have that life back" she said.

Place has scars and reminders all over her body of the moment that changed her life.  Action News 5's camera was in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot on February 17, 2011 when Memphis police charged Raymond Hardy, Jr. with vehicular assault.

"He ran over me and then backed up and ran over me again," said Place.

Place knew Hardy's father.  An argument erupted with Hardy behind the wheels of Place's Mazda pick-up.  The younger Hardy slammed on the brakes on American Way and dragged Place out of the pick-up.

The father got out and the two walked towards Piggly Wiggly, where Hardy followed and ran them over.

After three weeks in a coma and three months in the hospital, all Place has to her name is her hospital records.

She lost her apartment and everything in it, as well as her pick-up.

"I found out that the impound had auctioned off my truck," said Place.

Less than a month after Place's incident, the mayor fired an entire shift at the impound lot.  The lot supervisor is fighting in court over accusations he let a thief steal from lot vehicles to split proceeds.

So far, the city has paid nearly $100,000 to settle claims for vehicles accidentally sold, damaged or missing belongings.

Place said before the incident, she was making good money building theatre sets.  She is now 60 pounds lighter and cannot work, but she has learned to walk and dress herself again, and is in therapy.

"I'm trying to be independent, as much as I can," she said.

Place still has no truck, but said two things are keeping her together.

"Prayers," said Place.  "God."

Place cannot remember the medical staff at the MED, but she thanked them for helping to put her "back together."

She has had no contact with the suspect's father.  She is staying with a friend and found an attorney to take on her case.

Hardy is out of jail after pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter, DUI and other charges.

Sunday, the City of Memphis issued the following statement regarding Place's case:

"This is a very unfortunate and regrettable incident, but the city made several good faith efforts to contact Ms. Place and her friend in an attempt to return her vehicle to her.

We will look at our processes to see if there are ways a similar situation could be avoided in the future."

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