Wreck victim ‘very lucky’

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 7, 2003

By all accounts, Bernadine &uot;Sissy&uot; Smith had been having a hard time of it lately.

Earlier this year the 37-year-old Selma mother of two was forced to move back in with her mother, Youlanda Quigley, and stepfather, David Ford, after getting divorced and losing her job as a convenience store clerk.

Then one week ago today things got even worse. Much worse.

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In the early morning hours of Jan. 31, the 1985 Chevrolet truck Smith was driving was struck by a Norfolk Southern Railway train as it was crossing Highway 219 at the three-mile marker.

The truck was totaled. Smith sustained numerous injuries, including a broken collar bone, a broken hand, seven broken ribs on her right side and five on her left side, and a broken foot.

According to Quigley, the accident occurred at 2:27 a.m. &uot;They didn’t find her until 5 o’clock,&uot; she said. &uot;The train did not know they had hit anybody until they got to Demopolis. That’s when they found the bumper from the truck still stuck to the train.&uot;

Smith is currently in Vaughan Regional Medical Center. Quigley is grateful her daughter is alive, but she can’t help but worry about the hospital bill. Smith had no medical insurance at the time of the accident.

Tri-Tech Services, where Smith’s stepfather works, is taking up a collection to help the family with medical expenses &045;&045; as is Misco’s Corner convenience store, where Smith worked as a clerk.

But due of the extent of Smith’s injuries, the medical bills are sure to be enormous. Quigley worries the family won’t be able to pay for her daughter’s care.

Gateway Baptist Church helped the family to set up an account for anyone wishing to contribute. Donations can be sent to the Bernadine Smith Fund, in care of Regions Bank.