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Bend New Year’s Eve crash victim starting long road to recovery

(Update: Adding video, comments by Jeremyah Lea and family)

Victim began walking Wednesday as he starts rehab

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- On New Year's Eve, Julie Lea answered a call no mother wants to receive.

“It was very scary to get that phone call," she said Wednesday. "I don’t even remember getting that phone call, actually, or running to the hospital."

Her son, Jeremyah, a 20-year-old from Bend, was in the passenger seat of his friend's car when he said his friend ran a red light at the intersection of Highway 20 and 27th Street.

There was a collision, and Jeremyah was taken to the hospital. He has been there since. 

“I had no idea that I was even in someone else’s car that night," Jeremyah said. "I had no idea that I was even in a car accident, on the news, I was here, I had a broken leg, or anything. I had no idea anything had happened to me.” 

Jeremyah suffered a broken leg, fractured ribs, a broken pelvis and a brain laceration. 

The Bend native received a rod in his leg and staples in his head. 

He was not able to eat for his first 10 days in the hospital and currently has swelling of the brain.

But Jeremyah is thankful for the help of his family during this difficult time.

His sister, Karina, who currently lives in Las Vegas, organized a GoFundMe page to help pay the medical expenses for her little brother.

“He is like one of my best friends, so we have a very close, close relationship," Katrina said. “I just don’t want him to -- I want him to have a little less stress when he gets out of the hospital.” 

You can view the page at

Karina may be a few 100 miles away, but Julie is grateful for her daughter's help.

“So my daughter and him are best friends, and it’s hard with her being gone, Julie said.  “So yeah she’s, she’s tough. She’s tough and she helps us. We need her, and yeah, she’s been amazing.” 

Jeremyah started rehab on Wednesday.

With the assistance of a walker and a nurse, he walked for the first time in nearly two weeks. 

Jeremyah loves to play baseball, paintball, fish and everything country. 

The family hopes he can be sent home from the hospital by his 21st birthday on Feb. 6. 

“I already planned on going fishing as much as I can. Or just relaxing with my dog,” he said. 

Accidents and Crashes / Bend / Central Oregon / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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