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Bend woman recovering in hospital from critical injuries in head-on Hwy. 97 crash last month near Chemult

(Update: Adding video, comments from Howard, Burkett)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Bend woman is recovering at St. Charles Bend from critical injuries suffered in a head-on crash last month on Highway 97 near Chemult.

On Jan. 23, Lori Howard, mother of Barbara "Grace" Burkett, 24, and granddaughter to 3-year-old Savanah Runyan, was alerted they had been in a violent crash on Highway 97 near Chemult.

Burkett and her daughter were returning from California, where Burkett had laid her father to rest and attended his memorial service.

Howard told NewsChannel 21, and Oregon State Police confirmed that Burkett hit a patch of black ice early that day and lost control of her pickup truck, which crossed the center line collided head-on with a semi-truck.

Burkett, who was thrown from her truck, suffered several broken bones and other critical injuries, But her daughter was not as seriously injured.

"She was bruised pretty bad, banged up," Howard told NewsChannel 21 by phone on Sunday. "She did have a little bit of glass in her head, and she did have a fractured rib. But, being that babies are so resilient, you know, she got the least of it."

"Which was -- we were very thankful that either one of them were able to even came out of this accident alive," Howard added. "Gracie's injuries are significant. She has wounds to all of her organs -- her bladder, her liver, her spleen, her kidneys. Her lungs were very bruised and there were punctures in her lungs." 

NewsChannel 21 also had a chance to speak with Burkett by phone from her hospital room on Sunday.

"I do remember, just barely, driving into Chemult," she said. "I was fully aware and paying attention to the road, and all I remember was I was on a little curve, and then I blacked out. I wasn't even going the speed limit. I was going under the speed limit, because I didn't have a four-wheel-drive vehicle."

Burkett remains at St. Charles Bend's progressive care unit. A hospital spokeswoman said she was listed in fair condition Sunday.

Savanah, meanwhile, is out of the hospital and with her father in Klamath Falls. 

Family and friends are raising funds to help with expenses related to Grace's long-term recovery.

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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