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Austin girl's condition improves after I-90 crash with horse

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Kayla Trembley finally showed signs of her usual self Wednesday, three weeks after crashing into a horse on Interstate 90.

The 16-year-old Austin girl had spoken four days prior -- the first time since the crash -- but, because of heavy sedation, Kayla wasn't coherent until a few days ago, her father, Ken Trembley, said Thursday.

When her father told her it was Wednesday, Kayla thought he meant July 5 -- the day of the crash, which she couldn't remember, Trembley said. But she could carry a conversation, recall events leading up to the crash and was upset she missed a sibling's wedding July 8.

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"She's coming along really well," said her father, who left Thursday to stay with Kayla in Rochester through Monday.

Family members have taken turns staying every day with Kayla at Saint Marys Hospital. Her mother is Diana Moon, of Austin.

Kayla suffered serious injuries after her car crashed into a horse while traveling west on Interstate 90, about 11⁄2; miles east of the Dexter exit. Her car then veered into the north ditch, hit a tree and rolled over.

Among many injuries, Kayla, who was wearing a seat belt, broke her neck, legs and right wrist, and had a slight tear to her jugular vein, Ken Trembley said. She's still in a lot of pain, he said.

"(Doctors) can't believe, not only that she's alive, but she's not paralyzed," Trembley said. "She still hasn't moved her left leg but, you know, she feels it …; she wasn't moving her left arm but now she's moving it just like it was perfect."

Trembley said he has retained a lawyer to consider future legal proceedings in the matter. He knows who owns the horse that was loose on I-90 that night, but he declined to give the name.

"It was just an accident that didn't need to happen," Trembley said.

State Patrol won't release the horse owner's name because the department's policy doesn't deem it public information, a department official said Friday.

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Kayla, an honor-roll student, is a junior at Austin High School. She had received her driver's license only a few months earlier, her father said.

On July 4, Kayla went for a family picnic at a friend's rural home south of Rochester and was headed back home that night to Austin when the crash happened, Trembley said. She remembered Wednesday that she had been lost after leaving the residence, but eventually found Interstate 90.

With the head trauma Kayla suffered, it's hard to say how things will turn out for her, Trembley said.

"Things are looking pretty good, considering," he said, later adding, "It's going to be a long road."

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