Three-car accident leaves junior in critical condition

A junior remains in critical condition and in intensive care after sustaining extensive head injuries in a three-car traffic accident Saturday.

Maggie Schneider, a biology major, has remained unconscious since the accident. She was traveling with two other friends, Megan Mobley and Melissa Smith, also juniors, through Smyrna, N.C., on the way back from Thanksgiving holiday in Nags Head. Her two friends avoided major injuries from the accident and returned to the Duke Marine Lab on Pivers Island in Beaufort, N.C., where the three are studying this semester.

Michael Orbach, director of the Marine Lab, said in an e-mail to the Marine Lab community Monday that there had been no change in Schneider's condition as of Monday evening. Schneider, a St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada native, remains with her parents at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C.

"Given that Maggie was enrolled at the Marine Lab, the staff there has really stepped in, and worked with her family and with the students down there to bring as much support as possible," said Sue Wasiolek, dean of students and assistant vice president for student affairs.

Although counseling services are being offered for students at the lab, Wasiolek said many of Schneider's friends in Durham gathered Monday.

"Maggie has been very active in Project WILD, so many of her friends and P-WILDers gathered late this afternoon just to hopefully send a positive spirit to her and her family," Wasiolek said. "We'll do all that we can to wish her a full and speedy recovery."

The car, a Honda Civic, was hit by a pickup truck around 6:35 p.m. Saturday night, according to reports from the North Carolina Highway Patrol. The car was traveling south on U.S. Highway 70 when the truck, traveling north, ran off the road and swerved back across the center line, hitting the Civic and another car behind it. Although the truck's occupants fled the scene, the driver was later located and charged with driving while intoxicated, driving with a revoked license, hit-and-run driving and leaving the scene of the accident.

"The pickup was going between 85 and 90, went off the right side of the road, overcorrected and slammed into us, nearly head-on but on the drivers side," Mobley wrote in an e-mail. "It bounced off us and hit the car behind us, and then that car rear-ended us."

Witnesses reported that Schneider remained pinned in the car for 30 to 45 minutes before rescuers could extract her and transport her to the hospital via helicopter. Mobley and Smith were taken to Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City, N.C., treated and released. The second car's occupants suffered only minor injuries.

"There is a great deal of uncertainty concerning Maggie's future, due to the extensive nature of her injuries," Orbach wrote in the e-mail. "Based on current medical advice, Maggie will [in] all probability not be the Maggie we knew before Saturday night. She has the best of medical care. What the rest of us can do is to keep Maggie and her family in our thoughts and prayers, and be supportive of them and of each other in this time of need."


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