Miracle recovery: Quadriplegic crash survivor regains use of limbs

Casey Kruse
Casey Kruse (WFLA)

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – Casey Kruse couldn't wait to start a new life in Tampa Bay, Florida, closer to her family.

It was June 4, and she was almost to her new home. The mother of four was so excited as she was making the final leg of her journey from St. Louis, traveling along I-75 in Hernando County. She was in an SUV with her mother, her son and his girlfriend, who was driving.

Her entire world changed in an instant.

"Oh my gosh, never in a million years, this is the last thing I thought would happen. We were, like, an hour away. I started to get real excited," Kruse said.

Kruse said she remembers her mother screaming and the SUV losing control as it pulled a trailer. The SUV flipped five times, leaving her trapped inside.

She said she felt her shoulder "crunch" upon impact. Then, she felt nothing.

"My breath was getting short. I don't know how long it took the helicopter to get there. It seemed like forever. It was horrible. it was horrible," Kruse said.

She felt the air in her lungs slipping away as she heard a helicopter in the distance.

"I've never felt so helpless. I couldn't move," Kruse said. "My breath was getting less and less. I couldn't say anything except, 'Help me.'"

Moments later, she said, she was out and doesn't remember anything until she woke up in the hospital.

"I was going in and out, and I remember the helicopter, and I think I went out after that," Kruse said.

When she woke up, she was at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, where she had been airlifted, then rushed into surgery to treat a severe spinal cord injury. She said her eyes were still closed when she woke up and heard the doctor say, "Complete quad." "I have flashbacks, bad, bad. I just have flashbacks of the accident, the flipping of the car. Screaming."

Doctors told her family that she was now a quadriplegic, but the last few days have proven otherwise.

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