Female missionary suffers brain injury in nearly fatal car crash

A missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was injured when she was involved in a van accident in Oklahoma. The woman, age 19, is a Utah native who was serving on a mission in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The car crash is not yet considered a wrongful death case, though such a suit could be filed if the young woman succumbs to her critical injuries. She is currently on life support, according to official reports.

Authorities say that the accident occurred on Aug. 22 at about 8:30 a.m., when the van in which the woman was riding attempted to perform a U-turn at a cutout in the concrete barrier on the Muskogee Turnpike. A semi-trailer following that van applied its brakes in an effort to avoid the van, but that semi-truck was struck from behind by a passenger bus. The large truck was pushed into the rear of the van.

The driver of the van, who is affiliated with the LDS church, was apparently attempting to use a U-turn cutout that is generally reserved for law enforcement officers. Investigators say that the use of those cutouts is extremely dangerous for civilians. Even trained law enforcement officers are hesitant to perform such a tricky maneuver.

In all, two church members and four missionaries were riding in the vehicle at the time of the collision. Only the 19-year-old woman suffered critical injuries; the other victims were treated and released, and they are expected to recover from their injuries. It is still unclear whether the young woman has suffered such serious brain injury that the wreck will eventually be classified as a fatal accident. Family members whose loved ones have suffered such serious wounds may be entitled to financial damages for medical costs and other expenses, especially from drivers who take such negligent risks.

Source: Deseret News, "LDS missionary critically injured in Oklahoma car accident" Whitney Evans, Aug. 23, 2014

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