The family of a Kamloops woman who was injured when her vehicle struck a moose en route to Edmonton is thanking supporters of its GoFundMe page for a rapid response.
Tara Bouvette, 25, was driving to Edmonton on Nov. 22 to visit friends when her vehicle collided with the animal along Highway 16 just outside of the Alberta capital, her sister-in-law, Samantha Bouvette, told KTW.
According to Samantha, Tara was airlifted to the University of Alberta Hospital, where she was rushed into surgery. She has 41 staples in her skull, sustained a fracture at the base of her skull and was left with more than 14 facial fractures, as well as a major cut by the corner of her right eye.
Tara is in critical condition and still requires more facial surgery to fix those fractures, Samantha said.
“She has some short-term memory loss at this point that may or may not come back, as well trouble with her vision,” Samantha said. “Pretty much all of her injuries were to her head and face.”
Tara’s two siblings and mother made impromptu travel plans to be by her side, with mom Shelley and older brother Chris — Samantha’s husband — flying to Edmonton from Kamloops the day after the crash at a cost of $800 each. Tara’s older sister, Ashley, a single mother with three kids, flew in from Fort Nelson.
Donations from the GoFundMe page aim to help the family offset the cost of plane tickets, accommodations and other unexpected expenses, particularly for Shelley, who has been shouldering the expenses and intends to stay by her daughter’s side in Edmonton until Tara can be transferred closer to home.
“As a mother myself, I can’t imagine going through what she’s going through,” Samantha said.
The family started the online fundraiser on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The goal was $2,500 and that was met just four hours after the page went live. As of Wednesday, Nov. 27, the fundraiser had accumulated more than $6,580.
“It means a lot because this is such an unexpected tragedy,” Samantha said, adding the donations show how helpful a small city like Kamloops can be during a time of need.
Samantha noted the funds help because while ICBC will cover some costs related to Tara’s rehabilitation, it is unclear if it will be enough compared to what she will ultimately need.
Photos of the crash, which occurred at about 6 p.m., show the roof of Tara’s vehicle was torn off.
According to Samantha, the friends Tara was going to visit in Edmonton had been tracking her trip through an app when they noticed the beacon wasn’t moving and she wasn’t returning messages.
“They drove to the location the phone was giving off and they found her car in pieces and there was a moose dead on the side of the road,” Samantha said, noting by the time they arrived, emergency crews had already been dispatched and Tara had been airlifted to hospital.
They then contacted Shelley and she managed to locate the hospital to which Tara had been taken.
“A lot of people don’t actually survive that crash,” Samantha said. “She’s doing incredible considering the circumstances.”