Crash survivors recuperating in Albany hospital - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Crash survivors recuperating in Albany hospital

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October 9, 2002

Albany--10 days ago, a fiery crash on I-75 killed three members of a Florida women's soccer team. 15 students and graduates from Florida International University in Miami were traveling home from Atlanta, when their van collided with a car and a U-haul truck. Two survivors from the crash are still at Phoebe Putney Hospital, and family and friends are holding out hope for their recovery.

Jerry Esters second home for the past week has been here, at the on-site hotel at Phoebe Putney Hospital. The room keeps him close to his fiancee, 22 year old Erica Jaderblom, who suffered brain damage and other severe injuries when her club soccer team's van overturned in an accident on I-75, throwing most of her team members out of the van as it rolled.

Esters says, "Sasja, one of Erica's friends, they came to the states together, she's one of the deceased. She just graduated in April, another young lady who died at the scene graduated in April." 21 year old Teresa Wint died instantly, 22 year old Sasja Odenyo and Shimi Standly died later in area hospitals. The women on the team were all international students from Sweden, Jamaica and Brazil. Esters says the crash has brought them all closer, "We did a lot of crying and holding each other, going to each other's room. The staff would knock on the door asking if we were okay."

Most of the survivors are now physically okay and have traveled back to Miami. Erica Jaderblom will most likely remain at the hospital for awhile, although Esters says she's getting better, "She's very agitated right now. She's a person used to taking 5-6 classes at a time, soccer, she's always on the go. Now she's constantly moving her legs and saying I need to go, I need to go."

Erica's father and a brother are arriving in Albany Wednesday night from their home in Sweden. Phoebe Putney Hospital is providing shelter for the families. The driver of the van, Morais Witter, suffered a broken neck and back injuries and is also still recuperating at Phoebe Putney Hospital. He is expected to be released next week.

Posted at 6:45 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com