Posted on Sat, Jul. 3,
Crash victim returns to area
LOS GATOS WOMAN
FLOWN FROM UTAH
Tara Eichinger Berendes, the 20-year-old
Los Gatos woman who has been in a coma since
a June 1st car crash in Utah, came home to
the Santa Clara Valley and her family and
A plane provided by REACH Air Ambulance
flew the newlywed and her husband, Josh,
from Salt Lake City to San Jose where she is
to begin what probably will be a long
Berendes has been in a coma since the
accident, but she has opened her eyes,
smiles slightly and sometimes tracks
movement. She is not able to speak and
suffers from brain trauma. She remains on a
respirator for part of the day and is being
fed by a tube in her stomach.
The young woman also suffered burns on
her face from the accident, and at
University Hospital in Utah last week she
underwent skin-graft surgery.
``She made it through the flight very
well,'' said her father, John Eichinger.
``The family is elated that she's here and
under the good care of Valley Medical
Center. All her family and friends in the
community can be close to her now. This is
Just a week ago, Berendes' condition was
upgraded from critical to stable, and
doctors in Utah told her family she would be
ready for discharge.
Eichinger began an intense scramble to
find an air-ambulance service that would
accept Medi-Cal to pay for the $10,000 cost
of the flight. The Berendeses do not have
health insurance, but some costs will be
picked up by Medi-Cal.
Eichinger said personnel at the Utah
hospital and at Valley Medical Center made
extraordinary efforts to arrange the flight.
The couple, married 10 days before the
accident, were driving from Los Gatos to
Colorado when they were hit head-on along
Interstate 15 near Salt Lake City. Josh
Berendes was to be a youth pastor in
Colorado and Tara Berendes was to study for
a master's degree in psychology.
The man whose car struck the couple's
small sport-utility vehicle died at the
scene. The cause of the accident remains
HOW TO HELP
For more information, go to www.tarajosh.com
for ways to help and donate.
Josh and Tara
Berendes have no health insurance and
face a mountain of medical bills. Anyone
who interested in helping out is asked
to send checks payable to:
Eichinger-Berendes Recovery Fund
Wells Fargo Bank
299 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111.
News Staff Writer Chuck Carroll
contributed to this report. Contact Connie
Skipitares at email@example.com
or (408) 920-5647.