‘Slow down, don’t drive’: Family urges drivers to listen to important messages after tragic accident

Local

It’s a message you hear quite often when a winter storm is about to hit: Slow down and stay off of the roads.

“It’s really scary to think you can go from having a fun day and everything is perfect and you’re just driving home,” Joanna Simmons said. “Then ,all of the sudden, your life is just changed.”

It was February 16, 2019, when Simmons and her fiance Joseph Rolf were driving to Great Bend from Wichita.

The couple said a snow storm hit the day before and thought the roads looked driveable to go on their date night, but they quickly ran into black ice.

“Everybody tells you to watch out for it,” Rolf said. “I always thought it will ok. I’ll be fine.”

Their vehicle lost control, rolled over multiple times into a ditch and ejected Joanna.

Her injuries were serious, paramedics transported her to Wichita for trauma surgery.

“They had taken out my spleen, my liver was through my diaphragm and into my chest, I broke my femur bone and had a brain bleed,” she said. “I should have died.”

The accident not only took away her ability to walk for three months, it also took her unborn baby.

“I was 21 weeks pregnant with a little girl,” she said. “Because i was pregnant, I had more blood, which was the only reason I survived and didn’t bleed out. She’s my guardian angel now.”

The couple said if only they looked at the weather and booked a night at a hotel, their family could have been complete.

“I just hope people take this seriously and learn to take the roads seriously,” he said. “That way no one else is losing a family member. Whether it be a stillborn baby, brother, sister, mother. Father… you don’t want to lose them.”

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