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Mom severely injured, baby unhurt in collision

Aug 23 2012

A four-month-old baby was unhurt after a head-on crash but her mother was left with severe injuries that will require months of recovery.

Paula Smith, 33, was returning to her home at Otter Point in Sooke on Tuesday with four-month-old Sophia in the back seat when an oncoming car veered into her lane on Sooke Road, west of Kangaroo Road.

"This guy just swerved suddenly out of nowhere right into her lane. She had no time to react," said her husband, Alexander Smith.

West Shore RCMP believe the other driver, a man in his 80s, became ill and blacked out, causing his car to swerve into the oncoming lane.

The crash left both cars mangled and shut Sooke Road for hours. A motorist who arrived on scene shortly after the crash yanked a crying Sophia from her seat.

Paula Smith had broken bones and a large gash on her head, but she was able to tell the motorist to call her husband at work.

Alexander Smith was at Victoria General Hospital when his wife was brought in. She had a gash that required 10 stitches, two black eyes, two broken legs, a broken heel, ankle, wrist and collarbone and a collapsed lung.

"I spoke to her as soon as she arrived [as] she was getting wheeled in," he said. "It was just something out of a bad dream."

Sophia was examined by doctors who found she had only minor bruises.

Alexander Smith said it is lucky his wife did not sustain any head or spinal injuries that would cause permanent damage, but the family is still looking at six to 12 months of intensive recovery.

"I've never had anything like this happen, so I'm kind of in a daze right now," he said.

"My biggest concern is getting her through and me being there for her over the critical time."

He said he has not had time to think about whether he will have to take time off work, as a sales manager at Glenoak Ford, to take care of Sophia and his wife.

Sophia's grandmother, Veronica Smith, said that while it was a freak accident and hard to prevent, she is concerned about the safety of Sooke Road, calling it a "death trap."

"They've got to do something about that road," she said.

"They drive fast and it's narrow and [drivers] cross the line frequently."

West Shore RCMP spokesman Sgt. Max Fossum said there have been 25 collisions at Sooke Road and Kangaroo Road since 2007, a high number, but not nearly the most dangerous intersection in the West Shore. Thirteen of the crashes resulted in injury.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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