HUDSON, Fla. (WFLA) – Casey Kruse couldn’t wait to start a new life in Tampa Bay, closer to family.  

It was June 4, and she was almost to her new home.  The mother of four was so excited as she was making the final leg of her journey from St. Louis, traveling along I-75 in Hernando County.  She was in an SUV with her mother, her son and his girlfriend, who was driving. Her entire world changed in an instant.

“Oh my gosh, never in a million years, this is the last thing I thought would happen. We were like an hour away, I started to get real excited,” Casey said.

Casey says she remembers her mother screaming and the SUV losing control as it pulled a trailer. The SUV flipped five times, leaving her trapped inside. She says she felt her shoulder “crunch” upon impact.  Then, nothing.

“My breath was getting short. I don’t know how long it took the helicopter to get there. It seemed like forever. It was horrible. it was horrible,” she recalled.

She felt the air in her lungs slipping away as she heard a helicopter in the distance. 

“I’ve never felt so helpless. I couldn’t move,” Casey explained. “My breath was getting less and less. I couldn’t say anything except help me.”

Moments later, she says, she was out and doesn’t remember anything until she woke up in the hospital.

“I was going in and out, and I remember the helicopter, and I think I went out after that,” Casey told us.

When she woke up, she was at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point where she had been airlifted, then rushed into surgery to treat a severe spinal cord injury. She says her eyes were still closed when she woke up and heard the doctor say, “complete quad. I have flashbacks, bad, bad.  I just have flashbacks of the accident, the flipping of the car. Screaming,” Casey said.

Doctors told her family that she was now a quadriplegic, but the last few days have proven otherwise. This determined mom has started to move her fingers, her arms, even her legs.  While those movements may be small, they bring big hope to her family for the next step – intense physical therapy at Brooks Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville.

“My goal is to get into rehab and get better. Try as hard as I can. It’s just hard, it’s just hard,” Casey explained.

For now, she is still recovering in the hospital, and, as she faces a long road to recovery, she’s grateful to be alive. Her children, her family, and her faith are getting her through this. She wants to be able to hold her girls, cook for them and live a full life once again.

“Don’t take anything for granted anymore. Just being there for them,” she said. “I just want to be there for my children.”

A GoFundMe account has been established for Casey Kruse. To help this mother of four, click here.