VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — A Vermillion woman was on her way home from a parent-teacher conference when she was T-boned by a semi on Highway 50. It’s been almost a year since the accident and Deb McNary is still in the hospital undergoing surgeries. She recently left the hospital for the first time without medical assistance for an event hosted by fellow community members.

Her daughter Teegan McNary remembers the day she heard about her mother’s accident.

“Got a call at 8 p.m. from a sheriff in South Dakota, ‘Oh, do you know Deb McNary?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, that’s my mother.’ And he said, ‘she’s been in a terrible accident and she’s been life-flighted to the hospital In Sioux Falls,'” said Teegan McNary, Deb McNary’s daughter.

Teegan McNary was in Washington D.C. at the time of the crash.
“I mean, that’s like a gut-wrenching phone call to get and so I got on the first flight I could and came home,” said Teegan McNary.

Deb McNary was driving on Highway 50 when a semi-truck T-boned into the driver’s side of her car. First responders had to use the jaws of life to get her out.

“I vaguely remember seeing his face in the truck, and then I kind of remember him coming or yelling at me to stay in the car because I think I was trying to get out,” said Deb McNary, crash victim.

She said the semi-truck driver failed to yield.

“I just know that it was an accident. He just certainly didn’t mean to do that,” said Deb McNary.

The left side of Deb McNary’s body was mainly impacted.

“Well, my pelvis was shattered. I had some broken vertebrae in my back. I had some or at least one rib that was broken. I had punctured a lung. My hip, had a de-gloved, my kneecap was broken. I had a compound fracture in my arm and I believe my shoulder was also dislocated,” said Deb McNary.

She was admitted to the ICU at Sanford in Sioux Falls and has endured many setbacks along the way.

“We’ve been in hospitals here in Vermillion, we’ve been in Sioux Falls we’ve been in Omaha, she’s now in a hospital in Madison. It’s doing really well now and we’re so thankful for that. But it has been kind of a crazy, crazy ride,” said Teegan McNary.

Saturday was the first time she was able to leave the hospital without medical assistance.
Friends and community members hosted a silent auction for her in Vermillion.

“It really shows how much she is loved and the difference she’s made in people’s lives,” said Barbara Murray, Deb’s sister.

“We’re just so grateful for all of the generous donations and care that people have given for her. It’s just overwhelming,” Nancy, Gonsor, Deb’s sister

Family members say Deb’s been strong throughout this life-altering event.

“She’s been absolutely phenomenal I don’t know how she’s done it and kept such a positive attitude it really has been amazing,” said Gonsor.
“Sometimes when it’s hard for us there she’ll be ‘It’s OK’,” said Murray.

Music, food, and art were showcased in honor of her.

“It was very emotional. But it was so nice to see everyone and there was such good support from co-workers to friends to family to community members. And it really meant a lot it was wonderful,” said Deb McNary.

October 18 will mark one year since the accident.

“I’m in a good place right now. I really feel like I’ve kind of turned the corner and things are I’m seeing the end eventually. I’m ready to go home,” said Deb McNary.

She will have to prove she can live independently before she can move home.

“Definitely not a full recovery, we will be adapting to a new normal. I think that recovery has changed quite a bit throughout her process, her healing process so far, just with all of the complications,” said Teegan McNary.

Deb plans to go back to work as a special education teacher at Dakota Valley once she’s healed.

“The kids, they’re wonderful. I do hope to go back in January,” said Deb McNary. Currently, she is staying at a hospital in Madison and receiving support from family members in the area.

Deb is currently staying at a hospital in Madison and receiving support from family in the area. You can donate to Deb’s GoFundMe by clicking here.