A glimmer of hope: Two weeks after crash, family has hope driver will recover

Published 11:17 am Friday, October 18, 2013

Family members and friends are tightly holding onto hope for an Austin man who was seriously injured in a car accident two weeks ago.



Ronald Carlyle Cox, 52, has been in Rochester St. Marys Hospital since Oct. 4, after he and another driver collided in an uncontrolled intersection in rural Elkton. While the other driver was able to walk after the accident, Cox remained trapped in his car. His family said it took emergency crews nearly two hours to remove him from the vehicle. Paramedics needed to get oxygen to him, and he had lost a lot of blood, said Melissa Hernandez, whose mother, Janie Hernandez, has spent the last 25 years with Cox. The couple have two children together.

Cox delivers newspapers for the Herald. He had just finished Friday’s routes and was returning to Austin before the accident.

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Initially, the news was grim at the hospital. Cox had broken all of his ribs, left leg, right ankle, hip and lost an ear. He had multiple lacerations from the glass and debris.

For the past two weeks, doctors have kept a close eye on Cox. They have since removed him from dialysis and the medically induced coma, but the outlook has not significantly improved.

Cox had not awakened as of Thursday and will likely be moved to a brain specialty unit in the Twin Cities on Monday. It’s a dire situation.

“Even if he did make it, or came around, he wouldn’t be the same,” Melissa said about doctors’ estimates. “He wouldn’t be Ron because he has a serious brain injury.”

The Hernandezes say Cox is a hard worker who thoroughly enjoys what he does. However, life changed in a moment for him and for the family. For Janie, it has been a constant balance of doing Cox’s job, visiting him in Rochester and returning home. It will become even more difficult for Janie when Cox is moved to the Twin Cities. She’s been to the hospital every day.

“It’s just hard on me,” Melissa said. “It’s hard on my mom. She has to be up here with Ron. She has to work, do his routes.”

Melissa misses looking out the window and seeing Cox working on cars. Her children miss Cox. In the midst of it all, nurses and care staff have been very accommodating, Melissa said.

However, doctors told the family Cox has only a 40 percent chance of surviving. That doesn’t offer much comfort, but Melissa has faith.

“I’m hopeful,” she said.