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EVANSTON – The parents of a Tell City woman who suffered life-threatening injuries in a two vehicle crash Friday evening credit her survival to the many “guardian angels” who tended to her in the minutes and hours after an accident some feared she would not survive.
Sarah Lynn Goffinet, 19, a student at the University of Southern Indiana and a graduate of Tell City High School, remained Wednesday in the surgical intensive care unit of St. Mary’s Medical Center. She suffered compound fractures of her right leg and left arm as well as punctures to her spleen and both lungs, her father, Chris Goffinet, said Monday. She underwent more than 10 hours of surgeries but has strong vital signs that have doctors optimistic.
“She faces a long, long road but everyone tells us it’s a miracle she’s still with us,” he said.
Goffinet was traveling east on Indiana 66 toward Troy shortly before 5:30 p.m. Near the intersection with Old Lamar Highway, her Toyota collided with a flatbed truck hauling a utility tractor.
Rick Krutz was at his home only yards away when he heard the crash. He ran to the car and helped extinguish the fire that began in the engine area of the crumpled car. Goffinet, trapped inside, was only feet away from the flames. Krutz ran and found a fire extinguisher and other motorists brought two more. He later ran a hose and carried water in buckets to make sure the fire was out.
Sarah’s mother, Darla had been in a separate car in front of her daughter. She returned and climbed in the car with Krutz’s girlfriend, Lisa Motteler.
Together they comforted the victim until first responders arrived.
The extrication process of freeing Goffinet from the car was lengthy, more than an hour. She was flown from the scene to St. Mary’s.
Once there, emergency physicians were blunt with the family. “They told us she may not survive this,” Chris Goffinet recalled.
“That has to be the worst thing a parent can hear but with a lot of prayers and a lot of support she’s going to make it. She’s about as stubborn and determined a girl as you’ll find.”
He said the work of everyone, from those first on the scene to those who helped free her from the car and provided care en route to the hospital, were “Sarah’s guardian angels” and saved her life.
He said Sarah, who is a cross-country runner for USI, faces rehabilitation to regain full use of her leg.
The driver of the truck, William W. Bunner, 67 , of Newburgh, suffered injuries to his legs. His son, William W. Bunner II, also of Newburgh, was a passenger. He complained of chest pains.
A police report by Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Higginbottom said Goffinet’s car had crossed the center line and struck the oncoming truck.