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SCV bride-to-be remains resilient after car crash

Emalee Banry is on the mend and back to planning her upcoming wedding

Posted: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Emalee Banry stands with the help of a walker in the family room of her mother's Castaic home where she has been recovering and planning her September wedding after a near-fatal car crash in May.

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When Emalee Banry started planning her wedding in the spring, she never expected to complete the planning from a wheelchair.

But on the night of May 25, Banry and her bridesmaid Tori Brimhall were nearly killed when a drunken driver slammed into their car at the intersection of Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive.

Banry was rushed to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with broken bones, a lacerated spleen, fractured pelvis and lacerations to her head and elbow.

Brimhall also suffered a lacerated spleen as well as a broken arm.

Banry, who was a passenger in the car, lost consciousness on impact. Brimhall was awake to see her best friend’s face become smothered inside an inflated airbag.

“She told me she kept yelling at me to wake up,” Banry said.

When she regained consciousness, the young bride-to-be wasn’t sure what was real.

“I was trying to figure out what reality was. I was in the car but I thought, ‘Is this real?’ and then I thought ‘Am I still engaged?’ I looked down at the ring on my hand. I thought, ‘Why am I dreaming this?’

“Then it hit me. OK. This isn’t a dream. It’s real.”

In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Banry pleaded with her mother to call her fiance, a U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal stationed in Washington state.

When Lance Corporal Tyler Cordero received the call, he appealed to his superior officers to let him visit his fiancee in the hospital. By 3 p.m. the day after the crash — 15 hours later — Cordero was at the hospital bedside of the woman with whom he will soon vow to share his life.

“He stayed all night with me that first night,” Banry said.

The two young lovers, graduates of Valencia High School, met at their school.

Banry sang in the school choir; Cordero signed up for Marines boot camp.

They became engaged April 6 when they both realized they “couldn’t stay away from each other,” Banry said.
After that, she set to work planning a September wedding. There were invitations to select, flowers to pick, a wedding dress to hem

Then the crash happened.

But she went abruptly from planning a joyous celebration to fighting for her life on May 25, when the car she was riding in was hit by another vehicle driven by Michael Guevara, 32, of South Lake Tahoe. Guevara pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and was sentenced to two years in state prison June 6.

Banry, however, remains focused on her future and, specifically, on her wedding Sept. 6.

“I’m not about to let this guy ruin my wedding day,” she said with a smile.

Banry left the hospital in a wheelchair. For six weeks, she wheeled around inside her Castaic home as her mother brought her wedding magazines, wedding invitations and wedding ribbon samples.

After that, Banry bravely took the first step out of the wheelchair and swapped the chair for a walker.

She’s relieved that she won’t have to get married in a wheelchair, she said, and praying that she won’t getmarried using a walker.

“I’ll probably just need a cane,” she said, smiling.
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