Woman burned in fiery crash speaks about medical issues her teen son has endured
Daily Times (Farmington, NM)
FARMINGTON — The mother and son severely burned in an August vehicle crash have been going through rounds of surgeries at a Colorado hospital as they try to recover after a woman accused of DWI rear-ended their vehicle, nearly killing the teenage boy.
Jody Rico has been reflecting on the incident and tells The Daily Times she believes the woman charged in the incident made a choice to drink and drive, which not only endangered the life of her and her son but everyone else on the road.
Logan Rico and his mother Jody have been recovering from the fiery DWI crash at the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center in Aurora, Colorado.
The crash occurred around 9:17 p.m. on Aug. 15 on Pinon Hills Boulevard, east of the intersection of La Plata Highway and Pinon Hills, according to court documents.
The probable cause statement filed in Farmington Magistrate Court accuses 21-year-old Laurynn Hinds, of Farmington, of crashing a white Chrysler minivan into the back of the Jeep the Ricos occupied and causing great bodily harm to them.
The defendant is accused of causing the Jeep to lose control, roll, and then catch on fire, according to court documents.
Hinds later blew a 0.18 and 0.17 blood alcohol content on two breathalyzer tests, more than double the legal limit of 0.08, according to court documents.
She has been charged by prosecutors with two third-degree felony counts of DWI great bodily harm by vehicle according to court records. Shane Goranson, Hinds' attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.
Jody spoke from her hospital room on Sept.2, two days after her second surgery. She said she doesn't remember too much from the incident, using information from Logan and witnesses at the scene to recall what happened.
The Ricos were driving the Jeep that Jody had been working on in recent months and in which she just recently put in the bench seat. They were taking the vehicle for a drive and, before the crash, they were debating whether to get ice cream and drive home or keep cruising in the vehicle.
"I don't even remember pulling out onto Pinon Hills or anything," Jody said.
Her son provided some details on how they got out of the vehicle, and she learned her hair was on fire at one point. Logan's shirt was ripped trying to get out of the crashed Jeep and he told her they ripped her pants off because they were on fire.
Logan at one point told his mom he was sad to see the Jeep destroyed in the crash.
"My concern was, 'No, we're alive and we're out of it. It's just a Jeep,'" Jody said.
Jody said she believes she might be discharged from the hospital in the next two weeks, but Logan has been dealt several medical setbacks as he continues to recover from the crash.
Logan suffered a fracture on one of his arms, but medical staff have not been able to attend to the injury due to the burns on his arms, leaving him in a splint.
The teen was intubated at one point as he dealt with a virus, leading his lungs to collapse.
Jody said she was really worried that night that Logan had died when staff visited her after his operation.
"That was way traumatic, more traumatic than any of these burns in the accident, any of that because I thought he was dead," Jody said.
Logan was put into a medically induced coma at one point, which led to him having a "kidney scare," Jody said.
He underwent dialysis but later had issues with blood clots in his arms and neck. The teen was placed on a Heparin drip, but it caused bleeding in his legs.
"Every time they put him on the drip, which he needs for blood clots, it tears up his poor little legs," Jody said.
Logan is making progress, as he briefly walked on Sept. 2, but his mother acknowledged he has a long road ahead of him for recovery.
Jody said she initially felt that the crash ruined three lives' including Hinds.
She added that, over time, she felt a bitterness inside her from the choice she believes the defendant made to drink and drive.
Hinds told law enforcement she had four to five "shots" before driving, according to court documents.
The mother also recalled how she has a relative with nine DWIs and knows another man who collected 10 DWIs.
She said she felt that people who have been arrested for driving while intoxicated "get a slap on the wrist" for their actions.
"It just sickens me, to tell you the truth," Jody said.
The City of Farmington saw four people killed in three fatal vehicle crashes this summer, which were caused by speeding and/or DWI, according to Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe.
Police also have seen an increase in the severity of injuries in vehicle crashes this summer.
One of those is a double fatal vehicle crash on June 29 at the intersection of La Plata Highway and West Main Street. It is believed the driver of the vehicle was intoxicated, investigators say.
A GoFundMe campaign was organized on Aug. 24 by Jody's daughter, Kylea Arnold, had raised $6,262 as of the evening of Sept. 2.
Jody was humbled by the response from the community and was thankful for the donations. Both Jody and the GoFundMe made note that Hinds did not have vehicle insurance.
The mother hopes to use some of the funds to make sure she stays with her son after she is discharged from the hospital.
It's believed that Logan will have more surgeries, extending his stay in the hospital for up to three months.
"I already told my boss, 'I'm not coming home, I'm not leaving my son,'" Jody said. "I'll be here night and day until he's done."
Those interested in donating can visit https://gofund.me/40c84e41.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at [email protected].