7-year-old fighting the pain of recovery after ATV crash that killed her father

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:09 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:45 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) - Deputy Kevin Johnson’s cruiser now sits outside of the Hardin County Government building. It reminds his colleagues, family, and community of who he was; Hardin County Sheriff John Ward said Johnson was a man of service.

“He’s an individual that I never received anything but praise about,” Ward said. “He did a great job.”

Hardin County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called Friday evening to help a member of their own, something Ward said he had never experienced before. Officers arrived at the scene of an ATV crash, where they found Johnson, 36, dead. He crashed into a fence while driving an ATV with his daughter, 7-year-old Aliyana. She was immediately flown to Norton Children’s Hospital with serious injuries.

“The bond that they had was very beautiful, and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Aliyana’s mother, Rena Mays-Johnson, said.

Mays-Johnson described her daughter as determined and brave, and that’s exactly what she’s proving in the hospital.

“Every day there’s progress, but then there’s not progress,” Mays-Johnson said. “Seeing her from Friday, how she was, in and out of consciousness and seeing her today, up, responsive. ... She’s sitting up in the chairs walking, she’s talking more. She’s a true inspiration.”

There is still a long way to go for Aliyana as Mays-Johnson said she is in a lot of pain, has no feeling in her lower arm, and is suffering from a head injury. She said the next step is telling her daughter her father is gone and hope she’s able to make it to his funeral.

“I’m just praying that my little girl can be there,” she said. “She deserves to be there. She’s got to be there. She didn’t have closure; she needs this closure.”

Ward said there is now a trust fund set up for Aliyana Johnson, and anyone can contribute at any West Point Bank location. The 7-year-old is also accepting cards and letters.

Although Mays-Johnson said she worries about her job and finances, her primary focus is on getting her daughter back to health. Right now, she said her family simply needs prayers.

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.