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Acton: Girl on slow recovery following devastating car crash

Posted: April 8, 2013 8:09 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2013 8:09 p.m.

Abby Slothower's mother, Laurel, shudders every time she sees the wreckage of the white 1995 Jeep in which her daughter was a passenger.

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On Nov. 21 last year, Laurel Slothower of Acton received the phone call that every parent dreads.

She had loaded her daughter, Abby, into the back seat of a friend’s Jeep that morning before Thanksgiving so the 8-year-old could go and pick up the latest addition to the family: a kitten.

But Abby and the couple driving her didn’t arrive at their destination. Their Jeep was traveling westbound on Red Rover Mine Road at the same time a Ford was traveling southbound on Sierra Highway.

The two vehicles collided at the intersection, a California Highway Patrol report said.

Abby Slothower suffered a hairline fracture to her skull, bleeding in her brain, bleeding out of her ear, a broken collar bone, a collapsed right lung and a broken hip/pelvic bone, her mother told The Signal. She also had a nicked liver.

The Acton couple driving Abby, John and Lourdes Dominguez, aged 54 and 49 respectively, were also injured. They were taken to Antelope Valley Hospital.

Lourdes Dominguez, identified as the driver, suffered pain to her entire body, according to CHP Officer Ornelas of the Antelope Valley station. John Dominguez, the passenger, suffered major head trauma.

Abby’s injuries were the worst, including major head trauma. She was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Inspector Brian Riley of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

The lone occupant of the 2011 Ford — identified as 30-year-old Walter Diaz of Acton — was unharmed in the crash, according to the CHP release prepared by Ornelas.

Abby Slothower underwent two blood transfusions as she remained in a coma for four days.

After she emerged from the coma, she remained in the hospital for about a month, returning home just before Christmas, her mother said.

“Seeing the (crashed) car and looking at it, you would not think anyone would survive,” Laurel said. She’s a miracle.”

The road to recovery is proving to be a long arduous daily journey for both mother and daughter.

Although Abby has made a “miraculous” physical recovery, she still struggles with some memory recall issues, nightmares and other issues related to post traumatic stress disorder, her mother said.

“It’s ongoing,” she said. “I take her to therapy and every day there’s something going on.”

“She has recovered from a traumatic brain injury, so now it’s re-learning a lot of things,” she added. “She forgets things and she has nightmares sometimes.”

Laurel said her daughter is “re-adapting” to things she can and cannot do.

“I take her to her many therapy appointments,” she said, “one of which is driving down to L.A. to the Children’s Hospital for speech therapy every other week.

“Abby is very much alive, but has gone through and continues to go through lots of therapies,” her mother said.
In the last two weeks, Abby has returned to school full time, said her mother. Before that, she went to school part time.

“Her endurance has to be built up again,” she said.

Mother and daughter try to walk a half mile every day, to her mother’s delight.

“I’m beyond grateful she’s alive and doing better.”
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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