Forest Lake teen celebrates graduation after remarkable recovery

Jessica Erickson survived a horrific car crash and spent months in a coma. Now, she has exceeded expectations and graduated with the rest of her class at Forest Lake high school.

SEE THIS: Forest Lake senior's pickup torn in half in icy crash

Whenever Jessica Erickson thinks about crossing the 11th avenue Bridge it reminds her of what happened.

"I could have passed away." Jessica said.

Now she goes through hours and hours of grueling physical therapy along with speech and memory exercises to deal with the lasting effects of a broken neck and a severe head injury.

In November, Jessica was on her way to Forest Lake high school when she lost control of her truck on the same bridge. Her truck got t-boned and broke in half.

"When we got to her side, she was unconscious."

Paramedics, Bryan Steven and Matthew Pikus stabilized her at the scene.

"Once we got up to the car, found her still seat belted, but hanging upside down in the car."

She remained in a coma for weeks, but during this time the community came together to support her. The Forest Lake girl's basketball team dedicated the season to the 18-year-old senior and wore her number 30 on their socks. Hundreds of her friends and even strangers raised money to help with medical bills.

Brad Erickson is thankful his daughter is doing better, he also says this experience has taken a toll on the whole family.

"I don't even know where to begin. My wife still hasn't been back to work, she pretty much has to take 24-hour care of Jess."

Jessica's rehab will delay her college plans this fall, but she wants to eventually go to a school in Minnesota to become a social worker. She hopes to play competitive basketball again someday.


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