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New Jersey teen hurt in distracted driving crash works to help others

Last summer, she was a 15-year-old New Jersey teenager excited to be learning how to drive a car. That excitement was wiped out in a violent car crash caused by a distracted driver that left the teen with critical injuries.

As this summer approaches, the 16-year-old who lives southwest of Trenton is fighting to prevent distracted driving and help others avoid the injuries she suffered.

The Camden teen was just completing her very first driving lesson when the crash took place. She and a driving instructor were going west on Route 70 when a Hyundai going east struck another car and then veered into oncoming traffic.

The Hyundai slammed into the car driven by the teen. The 20-year-old driver of the Hyundai, apparently distracted at the time of the crash, died at the scene.

The teenager and her driving instructor both had to be cut from their vehicle by rescue workers. They were then taken to a nearby hospital, where both were listed in critical but stable condition.

The teen's legs were both broken and she suffered injuries to her lungs as well.

Then doctors found that fluid was building up around her heart. A hole had been torn in the vital organ. She underwent emergency heart surgery and then spent four days on a ventilator.

But she and her instructor both survived their injuries and began their roads to recovery.

Recently the 16-year-old returned to the helipad where she had landed in a medical chopper after her crash. This time, she was at the hospital to present administrators with the $3,000 she had raised in a distracted driving campaign.

"If we can save one life or prevent one accident, then she's accomplished her goal," her father said.

Those who have been injured by a distracted driver should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about their legal options.

Source: PhillyBurbs.com, "Crash survivor works to save others from distracted driving accidents," April 4, 2013

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