An Okanagan woman seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident last week remains in hospital and faces a long road to recovery, according to a family member.
Ashley Paxman, 29, was struck by a car while walking home from work on Thursday night, at approximately 9 p.m.
The collision, which happened along Highway 97 in Lake Country, was so jarring that it blew Paxman out of her shoes.
Police said the northbound vehicle, a brown 1999 Acura being driven by an elderly man, did not stop.
In an interview with Global News, a cousin of Paxman, Tasha Meuser, said “I was shocked that this happened.”
Meuser said Paxman’s injuries were horrific, including bleeding on both sides of her brain, but noted that she was taken off a ventilator on Thursday morning and is now on assisted oxygen.
“She is being kept sedated,” said Meuser. “Her left eye is sewn shut and the doctors don’t know the outcome of what will happen with that eye, if she’s going to lose it or if it will heal.
“Her jaw has been wired shut. Most bones in her face were broken.”
Holding back tears, Meuser said Paxman’s mom didn’t find out her daughter had been injured until the next day.
“She never came home and so everyone was worried about her because that wasn’t like her not to come home,” Meuser said.
“And then the following morning, her mom, Deb, heard on the radio that there was a hit and run and there was a female victim in hospital.”
Meuser said Paxman’s mom rushed to the hospital to see if it was her daughter.
“She went down to the hospital and showed pictures, and, of course, Ashley had been hit hard … they were not able to tell from pictures that it was Ashley,” Meuser said.
“They were able to identify her off of a tattoo.”
In a press release that was issued on Monday, police said the elderly driver told a family member that he may have hit something on the highway.
The family member went out to the area and found Paxman, then called 911.
The Acura has been taken in for a mechanical examination and police say the driver is cooperating fully with the investigation.
So far, no charges have been laid.
Police are still seeking any witnesses to this incident or asking anyone with dashcam footage to come forward.
In the meantime, Meuser has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family offset any financial burdens this may cause.
“The last thing you need is to be worrying about financial impacts at a time like this,” Meuser said. “She’s obviously not working right now. Normally she works two jobs.”
Click here for the GoFundMe page if you would like to help or see updates on Paxman’s condition.
“She just continues to need everybody’s prayers and support,” Meuser said.