DL woman may lose leg to car crash, family looks for help

A week and a half ago, Wendy Sorenson made what her sister can only describe as a poor, uncharacteristic decision. On Saturday, March 31, Sorenson, 47, was injured in a one-vehicle accident when she lost control of her vehicle on Hubbel Pond Road...

Wendy Sorenson
Wendy Sorenson

A week and a half ago, Wendy Sorenson made what her sister can only describe as a poor, uncharacteristic decision.

On Saturday, March 31, Sorenson, 47, was injured in a one-vehicle accident when she lost control of her vehicle on Hubbel Pond Road, where the road turns from pavement to gravel, and suffered severe leg trauma.

Sorenson is still in Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, and her sister, Sheila Schoon, said there's still a 50-50 chance her sister will have to have her leg amputated.

"She is extremely lucky that things were not worse, and she knows that," Schoon said. "In fact she asked, 'Why do I get a miracle?'"

The Becker County Sheriff's Department said excessive speed, alcohol use and failure to wear a seatbelt may have contributed to the accident. Schoon said, however, that she's never seen the blood-alcohol test results and her sister hasn't talked about the accident yet to give any details.


Schoon said it's also assumed that Sorenson wasn't wearing her seatbelt because she was thrown from the car.

"Why she wasn't (wearing a seatbelt), I don't know," Schoon said. "She's always stressed to her kids why it's important to wear seatbelts."

All she knows, Schoon said, it that her sister has been under a lot of stress in the last year or two and made decisions that she usually lectures her children on -- don't drink and drive and always wear your seatbelt.

According to the sheriff's report, Sorenson's vehicle left the roadway and rolled several times. She was thrown out of the vehicle.

Schoon said her sister had been in the ICU in the Minneapolis hospital until Monday, when she was moved to the orthopedic floor. Yesterday then, Sorenson underwent another surgery - a debridement of the wound to clean it.

"She's got an incision down both sides of her leg from below her knee to her ankle on both sides," Schoon said. "It's left open to allow for swelling."

Schoon said that if all looked well Tuesday, the doctors planned to start closing the wound. But, she added, her sister still has several surgeries ahead of her.

"As far as the survival of the leg, it's looking more and more optimistic every day, but the doctors have a hard time putting a percentage on it," she added. "But they still say there's that 50/50 chance that she could lose the limb."


Schoon said the doctors may not know for another month whether they can save her leg or not. The doctors were able to repair the artery, which was severed, but they weren't able to repair several of the veins.

"They're hoping she has enough remaining to keep the blood flow normal to her leg. There's that risk of clot right now," Schoon said.

She added that her sister was having a hard time coming out of the medication fog after surgery, but in the last day or two has at least been able to communicate more with family and her boyfriend.

Leading up to the accident, Sorenson was due to graduate from M State in the civil engineering field this May, but since the accident has happened, her instructor said she can make up what she's missing when she's out of the hospital and recovered.

Throughout her time in the program, Schoon said, her sister has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and has gotten several scholarships along the way.

Schoon said her sister has been working on a final project that consisted of a three-story, four-star hotel on Detroit Mountain. It was just a hypothetical project for class, but a big undertaking nonetheless, she said.

"It was taking her a long time," Schoon said. "She had been very, very overwhelmed with that and still worried about getting her 4.0.

"She's 47, so most in her class are younger so she feels she needs to get that oomph over them, to get hired over the younger ones."


Besides working hard in school, Schoon said she's had a lot of personal struggles in the last couple years because her grandson is going through health issues.

"And two years ago, they lost a granddaughter to SIDS at 5 months old. There's been a lot of things going on in her life in the last two years. The fact that she was able to continue and get that 4.0 is remarkable," Schoon added.

Once Sorenson can leave the hospital, Schoon said she'll likely have to spend some time at Oak Crossing transitional care in Detroit Lakes as well.

To help with Sorenson's mounting medical bills and future treatment, her mother has set up a fund at American National Bank in Detroit Lakes for donations. Schoon said her sister's fellow students at M State are planning a fund-raiser as well, but she doesn't know the details of that at this point.

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