Teen critically injured in auto accident
Published 3:43 pm Sunday, March 18, 2001
By By SHERRY DIGMON
The doctor said it was her leg or her life. Randy and Judy Baker had to make the decision to have their daughter's leg amputated or possibly lose her. Valerie Baker, 16, and her friend, Rachel Wiggins, 15, were involved in a serious automobile accident Friday night.
Baker was transported to West Florida Medical Center where doctors fought all weekend to save her left leg.
Don Davis, Valerie Baker's uncle, was with his sister Judy and her husband Monday afternoon when it appeared all efforts to save the leg were failing.
Monday night, Baker's leg was amputated just below the knee. Baker, who scores high academically, is a basketball and volleyball player at Northview High School.
Northview High School Principal Gayle Weaver pledged the school's moral support.
Baker also suffered an injury to her right eye, but Davis said Tuesday it seemed to be improved.
Davis said the fact that Baker and Wiggins are alive is remarkable in itself.
Friday night, March 9, the teens were headed north on County Road 99 in Escambia County, Fla. Florida Highway Patrol Duty Office Supervisor Steve Connors said Baker was driving the 2001 Mazda and was apparently driving at a high rate of speed.
For unknown reasons, the car left the roadway about 100 feet north of Oak Shade Road at about 10:35 p.m.
It left the roadway and traveled 235 feet, striking an oak tree on the left side of the car, causing the car to split in half. The front half traveled an additional 183 feet, overturning several times before coming to rest.
Connors said both girls were wearing seat belts. The accident was not alcohol related.
Baker was transported to West Florida Medical Center in critical condition. Wiggins was transported to Sacred Heart in stable condition and was later discharged.
Davis said the families ask for continued prayers.