Sledding accident tragic for Straight Mountain woman

Amanda O’Linger of 810 Murphree Road suffered a broken neck following a sled accident in the snow at her home near Appalachian School on Jan. 10. Doctors at UAB hospital, where she was taken for treatment, say she is permanently paralyzed from the neck down. She has remained in the neurological intensive care unit there since the day of the accident.

A neighbor, Chris Murphree, who described the accident to The Blount Countian, said his wife Patty and Amanda Olinger were being towed with a rope across the snow behind a four-wheeler, using an inflated air mattress as a sled. The rope broke and the makeshift sled went down a slope and, with both women still on board, crashed into a parked boat. Patty Murphree’s injuries – her shoulder and right arm – were not serious, but Amanda O’Linger was not so fortunate.

O’Linger is the mother of Victor Jr., 9, and Christian, 8, and the wife of Victor Sr. Her medical bills are expected to be extensive and protracted. A fund has been established at Regions Bank to help defray the cost of her current and future medical needs, which are expected to include modifications to her home to accommodate her expected paralysis. Wheelchair ramps and a vehicle with chair lift will be needed.

The fund has been set up in the name of Amanda Olinger or Victor Olinger. Citizens wishing to help the family may make donations in either name at any Regions branch bank. A similar account is being established at Wells Fargo bank as well, primarily for the use of people beyond this immediate area, but accessible to anyone.

Murphree said assistance is both greatly needed and much appreciated.