TAMPA BAY, Fla. — According to the Tampa Bay Times, a 24-year-old Andrea Rusch is lucky to be alive and not only does she know it, but she is also extremely grateful. She knows that things could have turned out much differently for the bartender from Tampa. The Tampa Bay Times also reported that 25-year-old Andy Cuff, Jr. drove his Chrysler 300 the wrong way on Interstate 275 after turning around in a median and crushed Rusch’s Hyundai Veloster in a head-on crash in the early-morning hours of November 1, 2018. Law enforcement officers charge Rusch with charges relating to driving under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury. His case remains pending in Pinellas County courts.
Rusch recalls looking at the moon as she crossed over the Howard Frankland Bridge on I-275 on her way home after work and spending some time socializing. She told the press that she remembers thinking the moon looked like a lemon wedge. Then she recalls regaining consciousness in the intensive care unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital surrounded by family and her boyfriend.
Rusch’s injuries are extensive. Surgeons had to perform emergency surgery to repair internal bleeding caused by the crash. She experienced damage to her internal organs, had numerous bone fractures, and severe lacerations. Her life hung in the balance for hours after she arrived at the hospital. Her father recalls how relieved he was to see her open her eyes and managed to smile as she regained consciousness. Rusch’s family’s elation grew as she managed to move all of her extremities after waking as well. She needed two additional surgeries and spent a week in the intensive care unit.
Rusch is not out of the woods yet. She does not have health insurance. A Go-Fund-Me page lists donations amounting to $15,000.00 for her and her employer is hosting a fundraising event in her honor.
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