CORVALLIS, Ore. -- A Portland family refuses to leave the hospital bedside of an Oregon State University student critically hurt when a repeat drugged driver hit her 11 days ago.
Jessica Neffendorf’s family members said Monday she’s making small strides every day, but remains in a coma.
The family is furious with the driver, a man already convicted of two DUII’s, but they’re also humbled by the community support.
Neffendorf was driving home from class just outside Corvallis when deputies say 29-year-old Matthew Cannard of McMinnville plowed into her car. If convicted, this will be his third DUII.
Neffendorf suffered several critical injuries, including broken bones and brain injuries.
“It was the hardest thing I've ever seen in my life,” said her boyfriend Shane Potter. “Just seeing her for the first time, being supported by ventilators.”
“I tell her that I love her, that I'm always going to be here,” he said.
And he said it’s been helping. Neffendorf has been blinking, opening and closing her mouth, and gripping his hand.
“Our 1-year anniversary was spent here at the hospital,” he said. He was planning to propose to her soon. “Because I am deploying, we wanted to get that done before I went.”
Potter is a member of the Army National Guard and will be leaving for Afghanistan in five months.
Her recovery, just in the hospital, could take several months.
A fund has been set up to help pay for the mounting bills, and community fundraisers are in the works.