ANDERSON — More than a month ago, a traffic accident left Dawn Hines with severe head, neck and leg injuries and a long, expensive road to rehab.
The family at Apple Critters Child Care decided to help raise money for Hines’ recovery by selling T-shirts and donations. Dawn and Christopher Hines’ daughter, Aubrey, 4, attends the day care center.
Overall, almost $7,000 has been raised for Hines as she struggles to recover from her traumatic injuries from a Feb. 19 head-on crash.
One of the instructors at the day care, Alecia Wilson, said the response by the day care is not surprising.
“That’s just the Apple Critters way,” Wilson said. “We don’t see Aubrey as one of our students — we see her as part of the family.”
Aubrey has been going to the day care center since she was 18 months old, Wilson said. The staff has seen her grow up and the Hines become a stronger family as well. She said it was only natural for the family-owned company to get behind the family.
Dawn Hines, 29, was seriously injured in a crash Feb. 19 on the East 53rd Street Parkway near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. According to police, Hines was driving her Ford Fusion southbound on the parkway about 7:35 a.m. near the Ricker’s gas station when an oncoming Jeep driven by Antonio Xolio, 37, of Anderson, crossed the center line.
Xolio told police his Jeep started sliding on the icy road. He lost control and slid across the center line into the southbound lane, striking Hines’ car head on. Hines’ car spun around and damaged a third vehicle that was behind her. Hines was the only person hospitalized. She was flown by helicopter to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.
Xolio was uninsured, according to the police report. He was also cited for driving without a license.
The next day, family members began posting requests online for prayers for her recovery. Shirts were printed reading: “Team Dawn Keep the Fight Alive.”
Dawn’s husband, Chris Hines, was unable to attend the Appole Critters event Friday that celebrated the T-shirts’ success, but he provided an update on his wife’s condition.
After the accident, Dawn was put into an induced coma while she recovered from brain trauma to her frontal lobe. Chris Hines said her motor skills and verbal responses are improving and she is able to identify her neck and leg which were two of the badly injured body parts from the accident. Chris Hines said she broke both the bones in her lower right leg and fractured her C7 vertebrae in the neck.
He said Dawn’s biggest challenges are agitation and awareness. He said Dawn kept thinking she was well enough to go home even though she still has a ways to go.
“She keeps thinking she’s well enough to leave the hospital,” Chris Hines said.
Although Chris is encouraged by the progress and believes his wife will make a full recovery, there is still a lot of work left to do. He said he was overwhelmed by the support he and Aubrey have gotten from the Apple Critters team.
“The people there have been incredible,” he said. “I can’t even put it into words. They’ve been nothing but supportive.”
The timetable for brain injuries varies from person to person and depends on the extent of the injury. Chris said he is hopeful his wife will be able to come home and move into outpatient therapy by mid-April. It may well take a couple of months before the leg and neck are fully healed.
“It’s hard to put a time frame on brain injuries,” Chris Hines said. “It could be sooner (than mid-April) or it could take longer. We just don’t know yet.”
T-shirts with the phrase “Team Dawn: Keeping the fight alive” are still available through Amy Mikel at Apple Critters, 3432 Scatterfield Road. The Hines family is also accepting donations through the Dollars for Dawn GoFundMe site at www.gofundme.com/71gvn4
As of Friday the site had raised $5,123 of its $20,000 goal. The T-shirts and donation jars set up in Anderson have raised more than $1,600.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.