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‘She’s been really brave.’ Teen miraculously survives rollover crash that left her with multiple injuries

Aleah Orr’s car after the accident. | Courtesy photo
ROBERTS — A 16-year-old girl is home recovering after being in a car crash that left her with several injuries, including a broken neck.
Aleah Orr lives in Rigby but is a student at Madison High School in Rexburg. On May 12, which was Mother’s Day and her mom’s birthday, Aleah decided to go fishing. Her mom, Sarah Orr, told her daughter loves fishing, and was headed out to the Mike Walker Boat Dock in Roberts when the crash happened.
“She missed her turn and her (GPS) maps dinged and said she missed her turn and she looked at her maps,” Sarah explained. “Next thing she knew, she hit the guardrail — and the speed limit out there is 55 so it’s high speed — and (flipped her car) like 50 feet … she landed feet from the river.”
During the crash, the driver’s side seat ended up laying flat back. Aleah was laying back in her seat but a little to the right and her neck and head were pressed up against the back seat’s back rest. She was pinned inside with her seatbelt on, a piece of the car was on top of her and her headrest came off and was next to her head.
“She couldn’t get out. She said that was the scariest part,” Sarah mentioned. “She was screaming for help and trying to get up but she couldn’t get up.”

The guardrail Aleah hit in the accident. | Courtesy Sarah Orr
A young couple driving behind Aleah noticed a dust cloud, looked down and saw Aleah’s car and called 911. Meanwhile, Sarah received a crash notification on her phone (she’s Aleah’s emergency contact) alerting her of the accident.
Sarah called her daughter three times and after not getting a response, she got in her car and called 911 on the way to the boat dock.
“(Dispatch) said there was a report of a crash,” Sarah recalled. “My first question was was it one or two cars? And my second question was is she in the river? They verified she was not.”
On the way to the scene, an unknown number called Sarah. The woman on the other line explained that she was with Aleah and that she was awake and talking.
“She was very calm so that eased me thinking okay, it’s not so bad, but then when I got there and saw the state of the car, my heart dropped,” Sarah, who is also a firefighter and paramedic for the Madison Fire Department, said. “I’ve seen less of a crash do more damage or take people’s lives.”

Aleah Orr in the hospital. | Courtesy Sarah Orr
Sarah said Central Fire was “amazing” and was working on getting Aleah out of the vehicle when she showed up. Sarah mentioned someone somehow crawled through a window and was holding c-spine for Aleah, meaning someone held her head still to prevent spinal cord damage.
“I think being pinned in the car was a blessing because of her injury that she had,” Sarah said. “Had she gotten up, she could have done more damage or ultimately paralyzed herself, worst case scenario.”
Aleah ended up breaking her neck at C-4 and C-5, dissected her left vertebral artery, had a lung contusion, head lacerations and a broken left hand. She was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center before being flown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake to meet with a specialist and undergo surgery.
“Anything to do with the cervical, the higher up the break is, the worse possible outcomes of (being) quadriplegic, unable to breathe, be on a ventilator the rest of your life, type-thing,” Sarah explained. “With the initial imaging, the doctor was like, ‘She’s so lucky. (There’s) maybe some contusions on her spinal cord and that’s why her limbs are weak right now.’”
Aleah’s vertebral artery straightened out after doctors straightened her spine and fused it together. She had four pins and four cervical vertebrae fused together. She was up and walking two days after surgery and was discharged from the hospital Friday.
“(She’s handling it) like a champ,” Sarah said. “She’s been really brave through this whole thing and thankful to be alive and have the use of her limbs. It’s a hard lesson to learn. Even though it’s just Google Maps, it still can take your attention away to new drivers.”
Sarah is extra grateful her daughter is still here with her as the past year-and-a-half has been difficult for the Orr family. Within that timeframe, Sarah’s husband died, her husband’s best friend who her kids grew up with calling him uncle died and her nephew recently died.
“(Aleah) says her cousin took the wheel and said ‘Hold on, cousin’ and her dad wrapped her up in his wings and kept her safe,” Sarah mentioned. “She said she said a prayer before anybody got there and after she was done saying prayer, she knew everything would be okay.”
Sarah wants to thank everyone who has shown support, encouragement and love towards her family during this challenging time.
“It’s amazing how much support you really have when things go bad and I appreciate it,” she added.
Aleah’s friends started a GoFundMe to help with the medical expenses and anything else that is needed with follow up care. To donate, click here.

Courtesy Sarah Orr

Courtesy Sarah Orr
The post ‘She’s been really brave.’ Teen miraculously survives rollover crash that left her with multiple injuries appeared first on East Idaho News.

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