Star Valley Ranch woman facing long recovery after accident; GoFundMe page established
A Bedford resident has been identified as the victim of a fatal accident on Highway 89 that took place in the morning hours of Monday, December 20. The Wyoming Highway Patrol confirmed that David Reel, 58, was killed when he drifted into the oncoming lane of traffic and collided head-on with another vehicle. The accident occured at 6:30 a.m. next to The Wolf Den, around milepost 105 on Highway 89. According to WYDOT, Reel was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene of the accident.
According to the WYDOT incident report, the road was icy at the time of the crash. However the responding officer told SVI News that road conditions did not appear to be the cause of the accident. Driver inattention, driver fatigue or a possible medical condition are all being investigated as possible contributing factors.
The other vehicle involved was occupied by Star Valley Ranch resident Tonia Browning. Browning was wearing her seatbelt and was transported to Star Valley Health for her injuries. According to the statement by the responding officer, Browning was later life-flighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Browning received multiple injuries, including a lacerated spleen, fractured vertebrae, fractured right ankle, and a fractured heel in four different places. As expected Browning has been bed ridden since the accident and is undergoing multiple surgeries and pain management. She has at least a 6-8 week recovery, not including physical therapy and any other long term effects.
“Angels had to have been with me,” Browning told SVI News in a statement delivered through a friend.
Browning’s employer, Thayne Valley Market, immediately began putting plans in place to help Tonia. “We were devastated when we heard about the accident and sprung into action,” said Brandon Carlson, Store Director. “We have several ways our team has rallied to help her as she recovers from the injuries she suffered during the accident. We have donation jars at each register for guests to contribute financially. Employees have the opportunity to donate paid time off to Tonia and Valley Market is matching those donations in order to cover her wages while she recovers.”
Carlson said he even donated a vehicle to Browning that will replace the one that was totaled in the accident. “Our Team Members are the heart and soul of our business. Tonia’s recovery and well being are a top priority for Valley Market. We pray for her continued recovery!”
The community can also help Browning by contributing to a GoFundMe page that has been established. The GoFundMe page state’s that Tonia “has incurred a lot of medical expenses and has bills she needs to pay during recovery and could use our help in this difficult time.”