Woman reunited with team who saved her after car crash in Kenosha
KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Kenosha woman was critically injured last august when a drunk driver slammed into her vehicle as she drove to work.
Officials taking that suspect into custody learning it had been his second drunk driving offense that night within a couple hours.
The victim went from being a nurse on her way to work at Kenosha hospital, to being a patient in it.
As she recuperates, she’s also fighting to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“If you believe in miracles, it’s a miracle.”
Battalion Chief of the City of Kenosha Fire Department Matthew Haerter was reunited for the first time this morning with the victim of a critical crash he responded to 9 months ago.
“It’s not very often when we get to meet people that we’ve seen on the worst day of their life,” said Haerter. “And to have her actually reach out to want to see everyone is a pretty cool thing.”
On August 9th, Jennifer Kilburn was on her way to work just before 5 in the morning when 26 year old Jesse Liddell ran a red light at 75th street and 60th avenue-slamming into her car.
Liddell had been released just 2 hours earlier after an OWI arrest.
“I was in a lot of pain when I woke up,” said Kilburn.
Kilburn woke up in the hospital with a shattered pelvis, ruptured diaphragm, and a collapsed lung.
“I mean, I’m used to being in the hospital, but not being a patient,” she said. “So to be on the other side of the bed side was way different.”
She spent 15 days in the hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries.
The avid runner went from being in a wheelchair for three months, to a walker, to a cane… to now being able to walk alone.
Today, she was reunited with some of the people who helped her get there.
“I’m trying to thank everyone who was a part of that process because it takes teamwork,” said Kilburn. “It’s not just one person who comes in and saves the day, it was all of them working together to save my life.”
At the reunion, she got to thank her heroes-and they got to see her walk for the first time.
“This is really a miracle,” said Flight for Life Paramedic Joe Zarek. “This is not what happens to every trauma patient.”
“It’s really nice to see her up and walking, and see her back to work,” said Jennifer Kucan, the Flight for Life Nurse who along with Joe helped. “It’s amazing.”
Jennifer says she’s grateful for everything they’ve done for her.
“I can’t go back and change what happened to myself, but I can go back and change it so that it doesn’t happen to other people.”
Kilburn is now lobbying for tougher OWI laws in the state. She's hoping offenders arrested for OWI will be held for at least 12 hours or until completely sober before being released.