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Benefit for critically injured Lorain woman

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    Erica and Miguel Casanas, both of Lorain, pose together. Erica Casanas was hurt in a car crash in Pennsylvania on Saturday while traveling with her mother and aunt to the Bronx, New York.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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23732118

Erica and Miguel Casanas, both of Lorain, pose together. Erica Casanas was hurt in a car crash in Pennsylvania on Saturday while traveling with her mother and aunt to the Bronx, New York.

PHOTO PROVIDED Enlarge

LORAIN — Friends and family of a Lorain woman injured in a crash over the weekend are collecting funds to cover her and her family’s medical expenses.

Erica Casanas, 27, of Lorain, was traveling to the Bronx, New York, to visit family Saturday morning with her mother, Amarilis Garcia, of Bedford, and her aunt, Elizabeth Garcia, of Parma.

Around three hours into their trip on Interstate 80 east, a semi rear-ended their vehicle while they were attempting to pull off due to snowy road conditions, according to family friend Jered Cruz, of Lorain. He said witnesses estimated the semi was traveling at about 70 mph when it struck the car the group was in.

“Erica and her family are friends of ours,” Cruz said.

“And we got the call Saturday morning and went out to Altoona. She was Life-Flighted. ... Erica is still fighting for her life, she is critical condition.”

All three women were seriously injured, with Casanas taking the brunt of the impact as she was riding in the back seat, Cruz said.

The GoFundMe set up for the family list that she sustained brain trauma, broken ribs, a broken jaw, spinal injuries and other internal organ damage and broken bones. She is still unconscious.

“The injuries are just extensive and they’re hoping she’s going to wake up and be able to show some brain activity,” Cruz said. “But right now, nothing’s good.”

He said the fundraiser will go toward paying the family’s medical bills as well as hotel costs while traveling between Northeast Ohio and Altoona, Pennsylvania.

“The way they’re talking now it could be six to eight months before she leaves there, if she wakes up,” he said.

He said Amarilis Garcia, who was driving at the time, had just gone through surgery and was conscious and talking. Elizabeth Garcia was flown to a hospital in Pittsburgh.

Cruz said he’s known Erica and her husband, Miguel, for a “solid two years.” They are part of a tight-knit group of friends, with Miguel Casanas and Cruz working together at Cruz’s company Certified Sort in Lorain. Cruz said co-workers are covering up Miguel Casanas’ shifts, while still paying Casanas, to allow him to be at the hospital with his wife.

Erica Casanas works for Enterprise and Cracker Barrel. Cruz described her as a “really good person,” willing to help anybody with anything they need.

Other than the GoFundMe account, Cruz said he is working to open an account at Dollar Bank for the family, and is in the process of securing a benefit dinner or other event in Lorain.

“All the prayers in the world don’t hurt,” he said. “We could use them, they could definitely use them.”

Donations to the GoFundMe campaign can be made at gf.me/u/nmc9k5. The listed goal is $10,000; more than $1,300 has been raised in two days.

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.
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