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Model from Baton Rouge left paralyzed after deadly out-of-state crash

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BATON ROUGE - A recent college graduate and granddaughter of a Louisiana lawmaker was on a trip pursuing her modeling career when she was involved in a major crash in another state. 

Diamond Jonise was reportedly on a cross-country trip to participate in New York Fashion Week with other aspiring models when their RV was involved in a violent crash with an 18-wheeler on I-66 in Virginia. The Sept. 8 wreck left two of the passengers dead, both of them from the Houston, Texas area.

State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, Jonise's grandmother, said Jonise was also supposed to be celebrating her 23rd birthday the day of the crash.


Marcelle and other members of Jonise's family have been giving updates on her condition through social media. She reportedly suffered multiple spinal injuries and is paralyzed from the waist down. 

We’re really not accepting the fact that that’s going to be her new norm at this point. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure Diamond not only walks again but walks the runway again," said C. Denise Marcelle, Jonise's grandmother.

As of Tuesday, Jonise was said to be improving but was unable to fly home due to potential complications. Her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her medical expenses. 

"We’re trying to get Diamond back from Virginia. She’s in a hospital there and it’s been a challenge because some of the doctors there don’t think they want to release her to fly. Some of the doctors here that we’re talking to, don’t think she should take the 20 hour ride back," said Marcelle on the complicated journey it's taking to get Jonise back to Baton Rouge.

Sept. 25, Marcelle announced that Jonise made her way back to Baton Rouge over the weekend, making the 20-hour-long ride in an ambulance with her mother. 

The driver of the RV, 25-year-old Ifreke E. Inyang of Houston, Texas, has since been booked on charges of reckless driving and driving without a valid driver's license. 



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