VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Friends of a La Center woman say she may be in a wheelchair for the next year after a wrong-way driver crashed into her Friday.

Ericka Gorremans and her 10-year-old son Clayton are recovering at Oregon Health & Science University together. She'll have four surgeries for a shattered pelvis. Clayton now has screws holding his thigh bone together. But it was her nephew, 6-year-old Henry, that lost his life instantly.

Headed to a doctor's appointment, Washington State Patrol troopers say 84-year-old Gage Bill Musgrave somehow turned the wrong way onto the exit 11 off ramp for State Route 502.

Background: Boy, 6, dead in I-5 wrong-way crash near Vanc.

He drove the wrong direction, all the way until I-5 where police say he merged into the middle lanes. His white Toyota Avalon eventually smashed into Gorremans' gray Nissan Altima. The impact was chilling and shut down I-5 north for hours.

You can see right there, those do not enter signs, said David Watts, who frequently drives this stretch of I-5. I think it's clearly marked.

Drivers are talking about how this could have happened. There are red Wrong Way signs and Do Not Enter signs where Musgrave made the mistake. But just inches separate the on and off ramp if you're not paying attention.

If you've got no family, you have to drive for survival and you don't want to give that up, but you also can't risk other people, said Washington driver Shirley Davis.

They're old, Watts said of drivers 70 and over. Unfortunately we need to be careful of that. We need to require some more testing at the DMV.

That's the reaction when people hear it was an 84-year-old, despite his clear driving record. Friends are fiercely loyal in Bill Musgrave's Vancouver neighborhood. They're surprised and saddened to hear he was involved, saying he's sharp, alert, with a heart of gold and devastated by his deadly mistake.

So far, WSP said there have been no charges brought against Musgrave, and they don't know if there will be.

He's in satisfactory condition at the hospital. La Center Elementary, where the little boy who died went to school, will have extra counselors on hand tomorrow.

Read or Share this story: