Teen critically injured trying to save turtle has “beaten the odds,” family says

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EUDORA, Kan. -- It's been a week since 17-year-old Sadie Walker was seriously hurt while trying to rescue a turtle out of a rural road in Eudora.

"She's been through a lot in a week, but the leaps and bounds she's made have surprised us," says Sadie's big sister, Megan Walker.

Megan calls her sister a "miracle" because when paramedics rushed Sadie to Overland Park Regional Medical Center last Thursday, she had life-threatening injuries to her legs and pelvis.  Doctors feared Sadie wouldn't make it, but amazingly her family says the Lawrence High School senior has beaten the odds.

"She's scratched up really good.  None of it initially looked good. Whether you were looking at her or being able to look at her charts, it just didn't look good," Megan said. "But one week later she's talking, clapping her hands when we enter her hospital room, and we're all just so happy."

Sadie was traveling on E. 1900 Road in Douglas County with her mom when they stopped after Sadie spotted a turtle. She hopped out of the passenger seat to help the turtle get across the street when she was hit by an oncoming car.

Sadie, who relatives say is a "true fighter" and doctors say has a "strong will to live," is now out of intensive care, upgraded to fair and bouncing back one day at a time.  The longtime animal lover started therapy on Friday.  At this point, it's still too early to say when she'll leave the hospital, but relatives are certain "she will."

"I was glad to have her talking to us again. It's a miracle that she's here," says Sadie's sister, Heidi Gunderson with tears in her eyes.

"She's positive. She's happy. Everybody's here, and we want the best for her. We just want our Sadie back," says the girl's sister, Cassie Walker.

The 36-year-old driver whose car hit Sadie was arrested for driving with a suspended license and failure to provide proof of insurance.

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7 comments

  • DC

    Found this on another website: The driver was identified as Elisabeth L. Mason, 36, of Lawrence. Law enforcement officials stated that Mason was driving with a suspended license and that her plates were not assigned to the vehicle she drove. Mason was arrested at the time of the accident and booked on suspicion of driving while suspended and failure to provide proof of liability insurance.

  • T

    The driver was in a brand new car and not at fault for the accident. The media needs to report the truth, not the sensational sob story. Though my heart goes out to this young lady, she should not have been on a highway in on coming traffic. What’s more sickening is her mother allowed this to happen.

  • JenLamb35

    I”m sure ther is a lot more to this story, but I wouldn’t call it dumb what she did. I rescue turtles myself but I always make sure it’s safe – it’s not worth causing an accident with my car or body. But was this stretch of road on a flat area where she could be seen and someone wasn’t paying attention? A “new car” doesn’t excuse this. Or was she not paying attention and got into the path of the vehicle with no reaction time? There isn’t enough information here to be judgmental. It’s just good news that the girl will be recover fully. I hope the turtle is okay too.