By TIFANY HENDRICK
James Perdue and Crystal Smith, along with their two children, Joshua Smith and Tristan Perdue, were traveling eastbound on Highway 52 early Sunday morning when they hit a patch of ice that propelled them into oncoming traffic.
Their vehicle hit a car head-on which was traveling westbound on Highway 52. Crystal recalls a chaotic scene in the moments after the wreck. She remembers the car’s airbags deploying and instinctualy reacting to check on the condition of her two children. She was able to determine that her husband and her youngest son were okay, but her eldest son, Joshua Smith, a 6th grade student at Portland West Middle School, was unconscious and bleeding from his nose.
Crystal recalls several people stopping to help her family after the accident. She remembers a family in a truck, placing her youngest son in their vehicle, to keep him warm while the family was waiting on first responders. Crystal would like to personally thank this family along with all who responded to the accident.
James and Crystal were not injured in the accident, but their son Tristan Perdue, a student at Gateview Elementary, was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt for an evaluation while their son, Joshua Smith, was life flighted to Vanderbilt University in critical condition.
Tristan has since been released from the hospital and suffered only minor cuts and bruising. Joshua Smith remains in Intensive Care and suffered a torn intestine, tears in his muscle from the seat belt, a skull fracture, swelling and bleeding on the brain, orbital fractures, a right temple fracture, several face fractures and fractures behind his left ear. Joshua’s condition did not show many signs of improvement the first few days in the hospital. The staff continues to monitor the swelling on his brain and his blood pressure levels. Currently he is being kept sedated to not over stress his brain. As of Friday, Joshua was beginning to show signs of improvement and the physicians were slowing decreasing his medications. They were also weaning him off the ventilator to determine if he could breathe on his own.
Currently, the doctors are unsure of Joshua’s long-term prognosis and the family is taking each day with Joshua as it comes. Crystal has been “overwhelmed-in a good way” at the support the family has received from the community. Joshua’s principal and assistant principal put together a gift basket with snacks for the family and Joshua’s teacher has been calling often to check on him.
A GoFundMe page was set up by family friend, Renee Greene, to help cover the cost of the family’s expenses and to help alleviate the financial burden on the family. Currently the family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House, so they can be near Joshua and his care team. There is a 60-day limit on their stay and the family will have to leave once Joshua is moved out of ICU. Crystal asks that everyone keep praying for Joshua and keep the family in their thoughts. To donate to the family expenses please visit their GoFundMe page- https://www.gofundme.com/50serns