A 23-year-old Clovis woman struck by a suspected drunken driver a week ago is still recovering in the intensive care unit at Community Regional Medical Center. Emily Krieghoff is in stable condition at the downtown Fresno hospital, but her road to a full recovery is still a “long, long ways away,” cousin Curtis Divona said Saturday during a news conference held by her family outside the facility.
Krieghoff and best friend Molly Griffin, 23, were in Griffin’s car on Feb. 21 when it was struck by a suspected drunken driver who ran a red light on Friant Avenue at East Copper River Drive in northeast Fresno. Griffin died at the scene.
The alleged DUI driver, Hector Castillo-Pichardo, 23, received minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He remained jailed on Saturday with bail set at $330,000. His passenger, Oscar Felix, 32, died at the hospital.
Krieghoff was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, with major internal injuries to her aorta and chest, Divona said. Among the known injuries: a fractured pelvis bone, broken ribs and clavicle and swelling of the brain. Earlier that day, she had been trying on bridesmaid dresses for a friend’s wedding.
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Divona said Krieghoff recently applied to Fresno State’s nursing school in hopes of becoming a nurse like her mother.
“I’ve had the chance to think, over the last week here at the hospital, about what a 23-year-old should be doing at this stage of their life, what I was doing at 23,” Divona said. “Hanging out with friends, beginning a career, falling in love — those are all things our Emily now has to put on hold.”
Krieghoff and Griffin were en route to see Copper River Ranch, a housing development Griffin was planning to move into, when their car was struck. Griffin started working as a nurse last summer in the surgical department at Madera Community Hospital.
“To the Griffin family, the strength you have shown is truly remarkable,” Divona said. “Molly was a beautiful young woman and she will be greatly missed.”
Because of swelling in Krieghoff’s brain, he said, she still didn’t know her best friend died.
Krieghoff’s family thanked all involved in “saving our Emily’s life” and asked the community to help pay for medical costs and eventual rehabilitation. A donation account has been set up online at YouCaring.com. On Saturday evening, it had only raised about $3,000 of a $100,000 goal.
“Please help us by donating so our 23-year-old Emily doesn’t have to worry about the financial burden as well,” Divona said. “For those who cannot donate money, please donate blood. The amount of which Emily needed to survive was substantial.”
Her family also asked for continued thoughts and prayers.
“We need to continue to educate — especially our young adults — the consequences of drinking and driving. Trust us when we say it can happen to anyone.”