Survivor Of Spring Break Car Accident On I-44 Allowed To Go Home

Thursday, April 11th 2013, 5:25 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Eleven-year-old Abbie Whitinger was finally released from the hospital this week after she was injured in a bad accident during spring break.

"I like being home, except I was scared there was no nurse, like a medical person," said Abbie from her home.

Six people were injured, one person died in the crash. Whitinger was the most badly hurt.

3/15/2013 Related Story: One Killed, 6 Injured In Multi-Vehicle Crash On I-44 Near Wellston

Abbie and her family were heading out of town for a 9-day spring break vacation. They were driving along I-44 near Wellston, when police say a driver of a semi hit their car from behind. The truck pushed them out of the way, then hit another vehicle ahead of them. A person in that vehicle died.

Abbie was sitting behind her mother who was driving the mini-van.

"I was screaming, I couldn't turn my head. Then I remember my brother saying my name," Abbie recalls.

The brace that Abbie now wears keeps her neck stable. She tore the top two tendons in her neck and had to have surgery to fuse them back together. And because of nerve damage, she can't move her arm or feel her fingers.

"With having a high-spinal cord injury like that, she was very lucky to have all the movements that she has now," said Kristy Hays.

Hays was Abbie's occupational therapist at The Children's Center, where Abbie would spend weeks, recovering and preparing to come home.

"She would cry and would be upset, but she would do everything that we asked her to do," said Hays.

Still, Abbie is counting her blessings. Her brother's girlfriend was supposed to go on the trip too. Which means Abbie would have been in the far back seat and likely wouldn't have survived.

"I thank God every day for that," she says.

Abbie has to wear the brace for the next five weeks, but should make a full recovery.