By Steve Huffman
A Spencer woman critically injured in a traffic accident Friday made tremendous progress over the weekend, family members said.
The condition of Sherry Leonard, 40, of 510 N. Salisbury Ave., has been upgraded from critical to good. She remains hospitalized at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but family members said she may be released as early as this coming weekend.
“God and those seat belts saved their lives,” said Sherry’s sister, Donna Loflin.
Sherry Leonard was in a car driven by her husband, Jimmy Lee Leonard, that ran off the road and overturned off Old Concord Road at 7:44 a.m. Friday.
Family members said the Leonards had recently started a job as route carriers for the Charlotte Observer. They said the Leonards had just finished delivering the papers when their car overturned.
Their 20-year-old son, Tony, was in the car but wasn’t injured. Jimmy Leonard was treated and released from Rowan Regional Medical Center.
Sherry suffered by far the worst of the injuries, trapped in the vehicle for almost an hour until emergency workers could get the 1993 Ford Escort jacked up to extract her.
Sherry’s father, Oliver Pruett, said his daughter suffered severe cuts to her head and neck and was in surgery for almost six hours Friday. He said a plastic surgeon did much of the surgery, and said the long-term prognosis for his daughter is good.
Pruett said his daughter also suffered a broken collarbone and six fractured ribs.
He said the date of his daughter’s release from the hospital depends greatly on how well she does in physical therapy.
Pruett said his daughter has worked at Food Lion’s corporate offices for about seven years though she was out of work temporarily for surgery she was supposed to have had this week. Pruett said he was told that his daughter’s co-workers are taking up donations for her.
He said his son-in-law is disabled. The couple attend New Hope Worship Center in Kannapolis.
In addition to their son, Tony, who was in the car with them at the time of the accident, the Leonards have two other children ó Chris, 17, and Karen, 16.
Though Jimmy Leonard was cited for exceeding a safe speed, Pruett said he told him that the accident happened when he swerved to miss a deer that ran in front of the car.
Pruett said a witness to the accident said the car overturned three times.
Pruett said he’d gone to see the car in which they were riding and was astounded at the magnitude of the damage.
“You look at the car and you wonder how anyone got out alive,” Pruett said.
Family members said they wanted to thank everyone who’d called or said a prayer for Sherry.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman @salisburypost.com.