Woman in critical condition after wreck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY — A Salisbury woman is in critical condition after her Ford Explorer rolled over several times and hit a telephone pole, throwing her through her windshield Friday morning on Old Mocksville Road.
Julie Keels, of Salisbury, and a sociology major at Catawba College, was in stable but critical condition Monday afternoon in the intensive care unit of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
According to Salisbury Police, Keels crashed at 8 a.m. Friday morning, and was flown to Wake shortly after. She suffered head injuries, but other injuries were unknown Monday night.
Alexis Stephens, Keels’ best friend, has formed a Facebook page for Keel — Thoughts and Prayers for Julie — and she said prayers are encouraged.
“First and foremost, Julie’s family is so grateful for the outpouring of support and prayers for Julie,” she said.
Prayers are what Catawba College has provided and plan to continue since Friday.
According to Tonia Black-Gold, Catawba’s communications director, Chaplain and Senior Vice President, Dr. Ken Clapp, and Dean of Students, Ben Smith, traveled to Baptist Monday to visit with Keels’ family, “and the family was appreciative of their concern,” she said.
Today, students and faculty will be able to sign a large card for Keels, that will be set up in the Leonard Lounge of the Cannon Student Center. At 10 p.m., the school plans to hold a worship service for Keels.
The Facebook page for Keels has also been featured on Catawba’s Facebook page, for others to join.
“Obviously, all of our thoughts are prayers here on campus are with Julie and her family,” Black-Gold said. “We pray for her speedy recovery and that her family can find hope and comfort in these difficult days ahead.”
Susan King, a member of First Baptist Church of Salisbury, calls Keels a “very loving and caring person.”
As a teenager, Keels volunteered to help King with the 5-year-old class for Vacation Bible School.
“They would just climb into her lap,” King said. “She has this joy in her; kids were just drawn to that.”
King says she kept in touch with her since because Keels “is just so wonderful to be around.”
“It was so shocking to hear about the accident,” King said. “(Keels’ family) is a very special part of our church, so it’s really affected a lot of people.
“We’re just relying on the lord to see them through it and bring good out of it.”
Posts on “Thoughts and Prayers for Julie,” included 390 members Monday night, with friends, family, and even Catawba classmates who admit they’ve never met Keels, but posted that they will all be praying for her.
Keels’ father, Steven Keels, wrote on the group’s wall about 9 a.m. Monday saying that from 2 a.m. until 5 a.m. Monday, Keels received an “emergency surgery to save her life.”