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Coldwater brothers injured in crash face long road to recovery

Lukas Saunders, 15, suffered traumatic brain injury in New Year's Eve crash in Oro-Medonte
Ty Saunders, 17, and Lukas Saunders, 15, were injured in a New Year's Eve crash in Oro-Medonte. A fundraiser has been established to support them and their family.

A New Year’s Eve crash in Oro-Medonte has left a Coldwater family reeling.

Brothers Ty and Lukas Saunders were injured in the crash that occurred at about 3 p.m. Dec. 31 in the area of Diamond Valley Drive and Line 7 North.

According to an OPP news release, the brothers’ vehicle — the only one involved in the crash — left the road, striking a hydro pole and rolling onto its side.

Ty Saunders, 17, the driver of the vehicle, suffered airbag injuries to his face, a broken hand, numerous stitches and cuts, and a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. He received treatment at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).

Lukas Saunders, 15, who was a passenger in the vehicle, sustained more serious injuries. He was treated for head wounds and an ear wound that “required many stitches” at RVH.

Ty Saunders, 17, and Lukas Saunders, 15, were injured in a New Year’s Eve crash in Oro-Medonte. The vehicle Ty was driving is shown after the crash in which it left the road, struck a hydro pole and rolled onto its side. | Supplied photo

“However, due to a CT scan revealing bleeding on the brain and a bruise on his lung, he was rushed to SickKids Hospital,” said family friend Kim Dolan.

“Lukas has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, specifically a left frontal contusion and temporal subarachnoid hemorrhage,” she explained.

“Occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists have reported that he is experiencing slowed cognitive processing in reading, thinking and speaking.

“Lukas is now recovering at home, but a gradual re-entry to school and regular life will be necessary.”

Dolan has started a GoFundMe account to help the family.

“The funds raised will go towards covering medical expenses, including Lukas’ ongoing treatment and therapy, as well as trauma counselling for both boys,” Dolan explained in the GoFundMe appeal.

She said the “primary focus is on the boys’ health, the numerous medical appointments they will have in the near future (including physiotherapy and specialist appointments at SickKids), and trauma counselling.”

Dolan said the boys’ father has medical insurance, but the “care the boys need will likely exceed the insurance maximums.”

The effects of the crash extend beyond the brothers’ health.

Dolan said Saunders only had liability insurance on their vehicle — not replacement insurance.

“This truck served as their primary transportation to school and their part-time jobs,” she said.

“Currently, the family is exploring all options for transportation to minimize the time missed from work for both parents. Eventually, they will require assistance in getting back on the road.”

According to the GoFundMe page, the crash was weather-related.

“The accident was caused by a flash freeze in the area, resulting in several other accidents at the same time,” notes the GoFundMe appeal. 

As of Wednesday morning, the account had raised almost $3,000 of its $20,000 goal. The GoFundMe account can be found here.