A fund has been set up at Dacotah Bank for Geraldine (Gerri) Knutson, 65, of Valley City, who was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle accident Friday, Aug. 16. A CaringBridge website has also been set up for her at www.caringbridge.org/visit/geraldinegerriknutson . Visitors to the site can track her recovery progress and leave messages on the guestbook.
Knutson's 2012 Chevrolet Impala was struck head-on on Main Street by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, estimated by the North Dakota Highway Patrol at about 70 mph.
Knutson's sister Vonnie Sandland, Fargo, said Knutson had numerous broken and shattered bones, including her ankle, elbows and pelvis, and she just went through her fifth surgery.
On Friday, Aug. 16 around 5 p.m., seven vehicles and five cars were involved in a crash in downtown Valley City, when a Ford pickup truck, driven by Sandy Burchill, 69, was traveling westbound on Main Street at a reported high rate of speed, according to the NDHP. Burchill's vehicle struck Knutson's car, when Knutson was traveling eastbound on Main Street preparing to turn north onto Second Avenue Northeast. The impact propelled both vehicles into several other vehicles, both occupied and unoccupied. Burchill and Knutson were both seriously injured. Minor injuries were reported from occupants of the other cars.
After emergency workers extricated Knutson from her car, she was taken to Mercy Hospital and later transferred to Sanford Broadway Hospital in Fargo, where she has been since.
Sandland said she was in the critical care unit from that Friday until Monday afternoon, and now she's in a medical ward on the surgical floor.
"She is alert right now. She's been able to talk and have visitors, but she's in so much pain," Sandland said. "It's going to be a very long road of recovery."
It is not known how long she will have to remain in the hospital or how much therapy or rehab she will need to get back to good health.
Knutson has lived in Valley City all her life, Sandland said, and she works for Valley Realty as a receptionist and in accounting. She has a daughter in Texas and son in Moorhead.
"When she was in the accident, she was on her way to the Post Office to take the mail. She was in the left turning lane by the VFW," Sandland said.
Another sister, Cheryll Borg, rural Valley City, said some people from their church, Grace Free Lutheran in Valley City, decided to set up the fund account.
"Friends and concerned members of the community are asked to consider a gift for Gerri," Borg said. Gifts can be sent to Dacotah Bank, Gerri Knutson Fund.
Borg said her sister is a "real busy-going person, and she loves her job. She's keeping her spirits really good."
"She was talking back and forth with us a couple nights ago," Borg said. "Usually she's been really tired and just kind of out of it, but she seemed in really good spirits — she's a trooper."
Sandland said, "She's a person of strong faith, loving and friendly to all her friends and family. She is just a super person; she did not deserve anything like this to happen, but it's been a miracle she was not killed."
"She's a fighter, and I think that's how she has come this far for somebody hurt so bad. We're just amazed. It's a miracle in progress."
Read this story in Friday's Times-Record.