ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — December will mark the five-year anniversary of a hit-and-run crash on North Washington Street and 73rd Ave. in Adams County near Boyer’s Coffee that almost claimed the life of Christine Gerry.
It took firefighters and first responders nearly a half hour to extract Gerry from her badly mangled vehicle— and even after she was out, her chances of survival looked bleak.
But 65 surgeries and five years later, she is alive and finally able to thank the Adams County firefighters who helped save her life.
“They told us you were going to cry,” one firefighter said as Gerry walked into Adams County Fire Rescue Station 11.
“I am going to cry,” Gerry said as she hugged nearly a dozen firefighters and first responders who gathered to greet her.
It’s a reunion no one expected to happen.
“Essentially, her front dash was smashed like an accordion down,” Adam Gibbons, a firefighter and paramedic with Adams County Fire Rescue, said.
The crash happened on December 14, 2018.
“I never saw it coming,” Gerry said. “I was on my way to work and I just remember hearing the metal.”
The driver of a stolen car veered into Gerry’s lane and collided with Gerry and another vehicle nearly head-on. The hit-and-run driver still hasn’t been caught to this day.
“I remember being thrown across the console,” Gerry said. “Which must have been from the second hit because I got hit twice. And I remember a man saying, ‘Ma’am, hold on, help is up the street.’ And then I don’t remember anything for probably a month or so.”
First responders often refer to crashes like this as ‘predetermined outcomes’ because they are all too often fatal.
“The thing that I remember most about this call— is the level of damage that was done to the vehicle and the level of extrication we had to perform to get her out,” Gibbons said.
“We had to literally disassemble the vehicle to get to her and start to provide care,” Lt. Mike Tavalez with Adams County Fire Rescue said.
Gerry was alive. But over the course of the next few months, she would be in a medically-induced coma and undergo dozens of surgeries which resulted in multiple infections and near-death experiences too many times to count.
“There were dark days,” Gerry said. “I had over 65 surgeries. I spent the better part of four years in the hospital.”
“I could not believe that number of surgeries,” Tavalez said.
With her family by her side, including a son who is also a firefighter, Gerry survived.
“I had a great support system,” Gerry said.
She also believes her survival was in the hands of God.
“As I was laying over the console, there was something hovering there,” Gerry said. “I know that had to be an angel. It had to be. What else could it have been?”
“Nine times out of 10, we don’t get to ever see our patients again,” Gibbons said.
“Thank you for not giving up on me,” Gerry said to the group gathered at Station 11.
“It’s definitely something— when it does happen, you appreciate it,” Tavalez said. “You appreciate being appreciated.”
“The fact that she is walking is remarkable to me,” Gibbons said. “Not to mention she walked in here on her own. She’s not using a cane or anything. It’s quite remarkable.”
“They’re very special people and they’ll always have a place in my heart,” Gerry said.