Accident victim remains critical
Three-vehicle crash claimed three lives

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

March 20, 2004 -- Diana Rhodes, the 36-year-old Paris woman flown to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas Tuesday afternoon following a three vehicle collision on State Highway 11 east that also resulted in three deaths, remains in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

She was still on a ventilator Friday and will still be required to undergo unumerous surgeries to repair damage to both of her legs and her left arm as soon as swelling is reduced and if her condition continues to improve.

"She is doing very well," said Rhodes' husband, who spoke to News-Telegram staff from the hospital by telephone late Friday afternoon. "She's in stable condition in the ICU still, but she is doing very well."

Rhodes still has a number of medical difficulties ahead of her, but thanks to the quick efforts of firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in administering emergency medical care even before she was cut from her crushed vehicle, she has a fighting chance.

Officials investigating the accident along with other emergency services personnel assisting at the scene Tuesday afternoon said that one only had to look at the silver car firefighters cut the woman from to know that she is very lucky to have survived the crash which killed two Como dairy workers, 21-year-old Ermilo Correa and 19-year-old Noé Correa, and 17-year-old Como-Pickton High School student Arturo Murillo.

Rhodes suffered some internal injuries and a significant blood loss, which preempted surgical procedures to correct two broken femurs, a broken right heel, a broken left ankle and her right arm.

"Those injuries haven't even been addressed yet because she had internal injuries and those were our first concern and her bleeding," he explained. "She went through a lot of blood. So those are our main concern. ... The surgeries on the broken bones will be performed as soon as the edema is reduced."

Rhodes remains on a ventilator but is expected to be moved from the ICU in a few more days. The extent of her injuries, however, and the necessity for surgery to repair the broken bones mean she still has a long hospital stay ahead of her, but not even that can daunt her family members' positive outlook on the situation.

"She is doing great and she has a lot to overcome, but it's nothing permanent," Rhodes husband explained Friday. "[There's] no brain damage, no spinal damage, no paralysis, so that's the part we're looking at."

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