Belleville News-Democrat', Belleville, IL, 13 Nov 2005
Posted on Sun, Nov. 13, 2005
Woman views her recovery from crash as 'act of God'
2 sons were killed in June 4 accident near Prairietown
BY ELIZABETH DONALD
COLLINSVILLE - Holly Scroggins came back to work on Thursday, cutting hair as though her life wasn't virtually destroyed in June.
Scroggins, 32, was driving her Volkswagon Beetle near Prairietown on June 4. Her sons, 4-year-old Mason and 9-year-old Bryan, were in the back seat. Another driver, Timothy S. Barnhart, 46, tried to pass them in an SUV and crashed into their car. Both boys were killed.
It's been a long road back for Scroggins, who lives in Edwardsville with her husband, Bryan. She suffered injuries to her liver and had two blood transfusions. She had a brain contusion and suffers from some short-term memory loss.
She spent months in the hospital and had three surgeries on her legs. Doctors put pins in the long thigh bones and wired together her kneecap and ankle. She had a shattered heel and foot bones in the right foot, and dislocated and broken bones in the left. Instead of a cast, she had what she called 'an erector set' pinning her legs in place.
Scroggins calls her recovery 'truly an act of God.'
'There's no one who loses their children and goes unscathed,' she said. 'The Lord gives us strength.'
Thursday was her first day back at The Hair Studio in Collinsville, but she's not working full-time -- only one day a week to start. She rested on a stool nearby in between cutting clients' hair.
You can't tell from looking at her that she was seriously injured, and she said the medical care she received was top notch. 'It's amazing what they can do,' she said.
Still, she continues to take physical therapy and grieves for the loss of her children. But she insists she and her husband are doing well, and she said she has forgiven Barnhart, who still has not been charged in the accident.
'People are so quick to justify us and condemn him,' Scroggins said. 'I know he didn't set out that day to kill my children.... I pray this changes him. The way he's lived his life up until now, from what I've been told, was not good.'
Barnhart was driving on a revoked license when he hit the Scroggins' car, and had an unrelated DUI charge pending in another county. He still is recovering from his injuries, and the case is still pending, according to Lt. Brad Wells of the Madison County Sheriff's Department. Charges are still 'absolutely' a possibility, Wells said.
'That's not anything I'm in control of, and worrying about it doesn't do any good,' Scroggins said. 'He has to answer for his actions, of course. Even though he made bad choices, he still is human.... I want him to change, and I pray this changes him. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.'
Scroggins said the community rallied around her in her recovery, especially her church, Wood River Assembly of God. Her co-workers at The Hair Studio hung a banner outside the shop on Vandalia Road that read, 'Please pray for Holly and her family.'
'They're very thankful I'm back,' she said of her co-workers, who also sold handmade jewelry to raise money to help the family through the crisis.
Scroggins said she expects Barnhart will eventually be charged, but refuses to dwell on it.
'If I do, it controls me,' she said. 'My boys are gone either way.'
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at [send email to email@example.com via gmail] firstname.lastname@example.org or 345-7822, ext. 21."