(MOBILE, Ala.) April 24 -- A Baldwin County family says they continue to count their blessings. It’s been a year and a half since a head-on collision nearly ripped their family apart. Their three-year old daughter nearly died. The rest of the family suffered extensive injuries. It was a drive the Rust-Bodtke family had made hundreds of times before, but on Thanksgiving Day 2006, the drive to the grandparents house was almost their last. A driver made a u-turn on the Cochran-Africatown bridge, and at a high rate of speed smashed right into the family's car. Jim Bodtke was able to pull himself out of the car, but the picture he saw next, was one he described as pure horror. "Just the visual part of it, she looked pretty bad," said Bodtke. His fiance and kids were knocked unconsious and bleeding, and there at the bottom of the pile, he saw three-year old Emma. "She had hemorraging in the brain." With a serious head injury, doctors didn't know if Emma would make it through the night. Doctor's told her family there was only one thing they could do to try to save her life. "If they didn't perform the surgery, she may not be with us today," said Bodtke. Doctors had to relieve pressure from her brain. Within a matter of days, the shaved head and prominent scar were the only signs Emma had been in a life threatening situation. She was out of the hospital in just two weeks, and she was her same playful self. In fact, she seemed to heal quicker than her mother and brother who were both in wheelchairs because of broken bones. "We've come a long way and I just want us to be able to put it in our past and leave it there,” said Harmony Bodtke. Emma will have to continue to have regular doctor visits. Doctors have to continue to monitor her development to make sure there is no permanent brain damage. As for the man who was driving the car that hit the Bodtke family, he pleaded guilty to assault for causing the wreck. Troy Crum will spend the next 20 years in prison.
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