Santa Rosa woman injured in Texas collision waits to get home

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A Santa Rosa woman continues to be treated in Houston for serious injuries she sustained on October 30 after an SUV struck her while on a bike ride across the country.

Relatives say Barbara Ferrell’s return to North Bay depends on continued treatment in Lone Star State.

Doctors have told her family Ferrell needs to at least undergo physical rehabilitation before leaving Kingwood Emergency Hospital, where she is being treated for injuries including a broken back, five broken ribs, a broken arm, a facial fracture and a collapsed lung.

Her condition makes it difficult for the 59-year-old to be robbed and her relatives are trying to ensure her treatment continues in Houston, her son, Ryan Ferrell, 30, of Windsor, said.

If that’s not possible, he added, family members may have to find a way to get her home.

For now, they can only patiently wait for Barbara Ferrell’s condition to improve and help her understand the events of last month’s crash that resulted in her injuries and the death of another cyclist. , Kent Wospeka, 51, of South Hamilton, Massachusetts.

“She is conscious and speaks. She doesn’t remember the crash at all and one of the hardest parts is reminding her of what happened and that Kent didn’t survive, “her son told The Press Democrat on Tuesday.

Willard and Barbara Ferrell started their cross country bike ride in September with family friend Glen Stanley. Their goal was to ride from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida by December.

They met and rode with other cyclists along the way, occasionally meeting Wospeka and his fiancee, Elizabeth Anne O’Brien, 54, a South Hamilton resident.

On October 30, they were together with a sixth cyclist when the collision occurred 70 miles north of Houston on a road known as Farm-to-Market 787, just 3 miles east of the town of Rye.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the driver of a 2014 Ford Escape “failed to control his speed” and collided with Barbara Ferrell, Wospeka and O’Brien as Willard Ferrell and Stanley were further ahead. .

The Department of Public Safety identified the driver as Michael Weaver, 66, of Votaw, Texas. He was not injured in the collision and it is not known whether he faces charges.

Based on conversations with his father and photos from the scene, Ryan Ferrell said he learned the group was wearing light-colored clothing and driving in single file alongside a predominantly straight two-lane road with mild weather conditions, minimal traffic and distant trees.

“The visibility looked good. There is simply no explanation as to how this happened, ”said Ryan Ferrell.

Wospeka was airlifted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont, where he was pronounced dead at 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 31, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A father of three, Wospeka was physically active and served as an administrator at Montserrat College of Arts, located approximately 20 miles north of Boston.

“He enjoyed serving as a director and was a constant presence at all important meetings and functions. He will be deeply missed and will be remembered very warmly, ”Montserrat President Kurt Steinberg said in a statement.

Barbara Ferrell was flown to Houston and O’Brien was flown to Beaumont as well.

“Betsy is recovering. That’s all we know, ”Ryan Ferrell said of Wospeka’s fiancée.

The collision cut short what would have been the first cross-country bike ride for Barbara Ferrell, who comes from a family of avid cyclists and has lived in Santa Rosa for about 30 years. A mother of two, she has also been a lifeguard and participated in triathlons.

Ryan Ferrell described his parents as “brutally tough,” but the collision was tough on both of them and all of the attention was on his mother moving forward.

“There is no other goal than to do what’s best for mom, however long it takes,” he said.

You can reach editor Colin Atagi at [email protected] On Twitter @colin_atagi


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