COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — U.S. House candidate Katie Arrington is determined to keep running for Congress even after a crash that will likely keep her in the hospital for two weeks, family friend U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said.
Scott said the first word Arrington wrote when he visited her the day after the wreck was “miracle.” It wasn’t long before she wrote “campaign” and Scott noted “the fire in her eyes” he has noted over the years.
Arrington had to write because doctors only removed her from a ventilator Monday.
“Part of her life that was saved was to give it away for public service,” Scott said at a news conference at a Charleston hospital Monday.
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Arrington was a passenger in a car that was hit head on by another vehicle going the wrong way Friday night on U.S. Highway 17 near Charleston. The woman driving Arrington, Jacqueline Goff, was also critically injured, while the other driver, 69-year-old Helen White, was killed.
White had hit another vehicle a few minutes before the crash with Arrington and Goff, Charleston County Sheriff’s Capt. Roger Antonio said Monday. White was turning on to U.S. Highway 17 when she struck a car, didn’t stop and drove away in the wrong lanes, Antonio said.
No one was injured in the first wreck. The investigation into both crashes continues, but deputies did not find alcohol in White’s car, Antonio said in a statement.
Blood was pouring into Arrington’s abdomen after the wreck and she was immediately taken into surgery, her doctors said. She also broke her back and two ribs and had another surgery Sunday to take pressure off of her spine.
But she should start rehabilitation soon, and if she works hard enough, should be able to regain the same mobility she had before the wreck, said Dr. Avery Buchholz, a neurosurgeon at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“That shouldn’t be an issue for her. She is very motivated,” Buchholz said.
The wreck happened 10 days after Arrington won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House over Rep. Mark Sanford in the 1st Congressional District which stretches from Charleston to Hilton Head Island.
Arrington campaigned against Sanford’s criticism of President Donald Trump, saying it kept him from being an effective U.S. House member. The president posted on Twitter supporting Arrington a few hours before polls closed and has since gloated about Sanford’s loss.
In November, Arrington faces construction lawyer and yoga studio owner Joe Cunningham, who won the Democratic nomination.
Cunningham suspended his campaign after hearing about Arrington’s wreck, and Arrington spokesman Michael Mule (mew-LAY) said she appreciated the gesture.
Arrington had already planned to take time off around Independence Day, so the campaign was prepared for a break — just under different circumstances, Mule said.
As Arrington works on rehabilitation, Republicans like Scott have agreed to campaign in her place, Mule said.
“We’re going to continue our campaign forward,” Mule said.
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