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Couple grateful for community’s help after fatal I-64 crash

RICHMOND, Va. — Kathy Carswell does not remember the accident, only the aftermath.

As she looked around her crashed Chevy TrailBlazer, her husband and mother were no loner inside and her teenage daughter was partially ejected.

Kathy was driving her family from Richmond to Hampton Roads Sunday, June 4, to visit friends and relatives when she said a back tire on her SUV popped on Interstate 64 in Newport News.

The TrailBlazer flipped several times and crashed into the median wall.

“I saw the Newport News sign… I don’t remember the tire exploding. My sister-in-law was in the car and remembered everything,” Kathy said. “I remember putting the car in park. I was like ‘what happened?'”

Kathy’s 74-year-old mother Wilnet Gordon was thrown from the vehicle and died as a result of her injuries.

Kathy’s husband, 34-year-old Brandon Carswell, was also thrown from the vehicle. He was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in critical condition.

“He [had] to have several surgeries to save his life,” Kathy wrote on a GoFundMe page setup to help the mother and wife cover ongoing medical costs. “A procedure to stop internal bleeding, a plate inserted in his neck to support a break, his right leg amputated… he is getting better, but he still has a long way to recovery.”

While Brandon survived, he lost feeling below his waist.

While he continues to recover in the hospital,  and eventually move into a rehab unit, the life insurance agent cannot work.

Kathy must rely on the generosity of others to help the family get by.

“We’re staying in Virginia Beach [closer to the hospital]. The spiritual community [here] is helping, she said.

She said she planned to relocate to Norfolk to be closer to her husband and family who can help during these trying times.

Kathy and Brandon Carswell

“I have definitely learned that you have to take each moment, they are precious moments together, you don’t know what will happen in life,” she said. “My mom passing away, my husband, my family, it’s like wow. You never know, in any second, what can happen.”

The couple, who has been married 15 years, wanted the community to know they appreciated the support.

“I’m thankful for my family and spending the last days with my mom.” Kathy said. “She adopted me when I was about one or two and took care of me as if I was one of her own. I’ll always remember her!

“I’m thankful for my husband’s family for supporting us at the hospital… for letting us stay at their home for several of weeks… providing food, toiletry items, hygiene products. I’ve never seen co-workers contribute like they did.

“I appreciate everyone’s donations. This isn’t an easy time for us.

“The financial burden of medical expenses, relocating to his treatment area, and starting over has been overwhelming. I’m prepared to fight and win this battle for our family.”