The Herald Bulletin

April 8, 2014

Father says daughter, baby recovering after deadly accident

Crash Sunday claimed life of young husband

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin


Family of a newborn and her mother involved in a deadly accident Sunday hope the pair will be released from Indianapolis hospitals as early as this weekend, according to the woman's father.

John Keefe, the father of 22-year-old mother Rebecca Sperry, said his daughter and granddaughter, Autumn Marie, are in stable conditions and improving at St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis and Riley Hospital for Children, respectively. 

Autumn Marie's treatment is precautionary, while Rebecca's condition is slightly more serious, Keefe said.

In an interview Tuesday, Keefe remembered his 23-year-old son-in-law, Jesse Sperry, who was killed in the violent vehicle accident Sunday afternoon in the 7500 block of W. Indiana 32.

"He was a Christian man. He loved the outdoors, loved to hunt, loved to fish," Keefe said. "Loved baseball and football, but he especially loved hunting, and shooting his bow and arrow. They would have been married two years in June."

Rebecca Sperry was awake and conscious as early as Sunday night, and has been able to talk for a few minutes at a time as she recovers. 

When she gained consciousness after the accident, Keefe said, she immediately asked whether her husband had survived. She told her father that the last thing she remembered before losing consciousness was holding her husband in her arms.

Keefe said Sperry was a hard worker who held two jobs. The couple didn't have health insurance.

"They didn't have more than two nickels rubbed together at the same time," Keefe said, noting that he and his family are grateful for the outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and complete strangers who have donated their money and prayers to the grieving family.

A website was created by two family friends on Sunday night, and according to the site, more than $12,000 had been raised as of Tuesday night to help with the family's expenses. It's nearly half the intended goal of $25,000. 

Representatives of Second Chance to Get It Right, a fundraiser group in Anderson, announced Tuesday that the organization would host a motorcycle rally to raise money for the family.

"It's great to know people are watching over this aspect," Keefe said. "I have had literally hundreds of comments and prayers on my Facebook page. I came home Sunday night, and people were texting me until almost midnight. It was astounding to see the grace of God at work in people."

For now, the family is continuing to monitor Rebecca and Autumn as they recover. Keefe said doctors are hopeful both can be released as early as this weekend. 

The newborn's treatment is preventative, and a specialized test on Thursday will give physicians a better idea of when she can be released. Keefe said the girl is moving around like a normal baby.

Rebecca's condition is stable. She suffered a torn uterus, lacerated spleen, broken arm, severe left leg contusions and internal injuries, Keefe said. She lost a lot of blood in the accident, according to her father, and getting her blood levels back to normal is the most important part of the healing process.

Jesse Sperry's family drove straight from Phoenix and arrived at the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Keefe said most of the family had gathered in town. 

Robert D. Loose Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements, but a date and time had not been set yet. The funeral will be at Edgewood Baptist Church, where the couple attended church. They were driving home from church Sunday at the time of the accident.

"I just want everyone to know how grateful we are for all the love we've received," Keefe said.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.