Soroco student in serious condition |

Soroco student in serious condition

Seventeen-year-old sustained multiple injuries in car accident

Tamera Manzanares

A Soroco High School student injured in a car accident on Routt County Road 27 on Thursday was in serious condition at Denver Health Medical Center on Friday, hospital spokeswoman Estella Juarez said.

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Joy Laird of Hayden, who was incorrectly identified as a Hayden High School student in Friday’s Steamboat Today, was on her way to school Thursday when her 1989 Jeep Cherokee skidded on a patch of ice and hit a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction.

Laird was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center with injuries including a broken pelvis and hip ball socket, a broken jaw and missing teeth, said her mother, Lori Laird.

Danielle Laird was in critical condition before being transferred to Denver.

“It could’ve been much worse,” Lori Laird said Friday. “When I look at the car, I’m amazed it wasn’t worse than it is.”

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 55-year-old Samuel Earl Arnold of Grand Junction, was not injured in the accident. Arnold, who had just completed a delivery to the Twentymile coal mine, tried to swerve to avoid the Jeep, according to a report from the Colorado State Patrol.

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The accident happened on an “S” curve on C.R. 27 about seven miles from U.S. Highway 40, family friend Laurie Hallenbeck said.

The road was dry except for a patch where snow had drifted across the road and frozen. That’s apparently where Danielle Laird lost control, said Hallenbeck, who later went to the scene to pick up Girl Scout cookies that had been in the Jeep.

Danielle Laird is a senior at Soroco High School. She transferred there from Hayden High School last fall.

She is a longtime member of the Hayden Girl Scout troop, and the cookies were among her chief concerns after the accident. A typical teenager, after the accident she also was worried about whether she was in trouble and whether her new camera cell phone was OK, her mother said.

Doctors plan to wait at least until Monday to operate, to allow Danielle Laird’s injuries to stabilize. Until then, she must remain still in her bed, Lori Laird said.

“She has to lie flat on her back,” she said. “She’s kind of bummed that they aren’t doing surgery so she can start getting better.”

Danielle Laird will remain in the hospital for at least a week. After that, she will need to be in a wheelchair for about three months and likely will recover and go through rehabilitative therapy at the Doak Walker Care Center, her mother said.

Cards and balloons for Danielle Laird may be sent to Denver Health Medical Center, 777 Bannock St., Denver, CO 80204-4507. The hospital asks that no flowers be sent to the pediatric intensive care unit.

A Danielle Laird fund has been set up at First National Bank of the Rockies in Hayden to help with medical, hotel and other expenses related to her injuries.

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