3-year-old still fighting after I-694 wrong-way crash killed her father

Update: Family members informed FOX 9 that 3-year-old Nevaeh Ripka died from her injuries on June 23. See the original story below.

Friends and family members are rallying around a 3-year-old girl who was the only survivor in a wrong-way crash in Oakdale two weeks ago.

Nevaeh Ripka was buckled in and asleep in the back seat when a real-life nightmare changed her life forever.

The version of Nevaeh who made a joyful impression on family and friends is the one seen in the home video acting out Ring Around the Rosie.

"She’s happy all the time," said neighbor Jacki Janski. "Singing, dancing."

Janski remembers the 3-year-old loving to draw with chalk and having a secret handshake with her dad, Alex. But for now, the backyard playground where Nevaeh made memories is empty.

The home in Rice is where Nevaeh's dad was driving to drop her off two weeks ago. He was on his way to work on a farm when a wrong-way driver on Interstate 694 hit him head-on, killing both drivers. Nevaeh has been on life support at Gillette Children’s Hospital ever since.

"Still swelling on the brain," Janski said. "She’s nowhere near out of the woods, but she’s a fighter."

Investigators haven’t gotten a medical examiner’s report back yet to determine whether the other driver was under the influence. Friends called the crash sickening, but they’re praying for Nevaeh’s future instead of dwelling on what happened and why.

"We can’t turn back time," said family friend Marilyn Brichacek. "We can’t undo it, so you have to go forward."

Doctors didn’t think Nevaeh would make it through the first day, but she’s still fighting. Her grandmother hasn’t left her side.

The family put Alex’s funeral on the back burner for now and support from their community is keeping them afloat as Nevaeh’s health crisis drags on.

"More prayers," Janski said they need. "Lots of prayers. We need a miracle."

Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help the family with hospital and funeral expenses.