By Rachel Kytonen
As Jonelle Gressman prepared to drive across the old Hwy. 65 at Palisade Drive, she didn’t see the other vehicle crossing and it slammed into the passenger side of her car.
Sitting in the front passenger seat was Gressman’s 12-year old daughter Allison.
The accident happened on April 2 around 1 p.m., as Gressman was on her way to pick up one of her daughter’s friends.
Gressman sustained a broken leg, dislocated shoulder and was in a wheelchair the first few weeks after the accident, and was taken in an ambulance to Cambridge Medical Center.
However, Allison’s injuries were more severe.
“Allison’s injuries were more traumatic,” Gressman said. “She suffered a concussion, and had a lot of cracked ribs and a broken rib. She was taken in an ambulance to Cambridge Medical Center and then was transferred down to Hennepin County Medical Center.”
Gressman and her daughter were both wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident, which may have saved their lives.
“Allison’s window shattered and her glasses flew out the window,” Gressman said. “The vehicle that hit us had to have been going 55 or 65 miles per hour. If it isn’t wasn’t for her seat belt, Allison may very well have been ejected from the car.”
Allison remained at HCMC for a few days following the accident. However, Gressman says now her daughter is doing well.
“She’s really doing good now,” Gressman said. “She had to drop out of dance and some other sports, but by this summer she’ll be up and running again. She’s good emotionally.”
Gressman doesn’t remember much about the accident, but remembers the ambulance arriving, and several people stopping by and offering assistance.
“After I came to, I remember thinking I just need to get to Allison,” Gressman said. “My main concern was for my daughter.”
Despite the tragedy of the day, Gressman is grateful.
“We are lucky to be alive,” Gressman said. “In the long run, our injuries are pretty minor. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if Allison would have died because she hadn’t been wearing her seat belt. We always tell her to wear her seat belt, and we’ve always worn our seat belts.”
Gressman realizes people make all types of excuses as to why they don’t want to wear a seat belt, but she encourages them to think otherwise.
“We are definitely very lucky,” Gressman said. “When looking at the car, I can’t believe how lucky we are.”