BELLE FOURCHE -- "I was on my way to church last Wednesday (Nov. 16) night, traveling on Prairie Hills Road. As I rounded a corner, I saw something out of the corner of my eye," said Julie Brunner, who lives in the Prairie Hills Ranchettes housing division. "I backed up and noticed that there was a car upside down in the ditch. What I saw was the red light from the taillight."
The car had gone off the road at the curve in the road and went through a fence, landing on its top. About the time Brunner stopped, two other vehicles arrived. Brunner called 911 and gave the location of the accident and then started praying.
One of the women was able to make her way down into the ditch where a man was laying a few feet away from the car. They could tell he was breathing and soon emergency vehicles arrived.
The man in that accident was Aaron Terveen. According to the Butte County Sheriff's department he lost control of the vehicle, went into the ditch and rolled. He was ejected from the vehicle.
Aaron is currently in the intensive care unit at Rapid City Regional Hospital. Mandi is an at-home daycare and preschool provider and previously worked at Pioneer Bank and Trust. Aaron's family is with him in the hospital. Mandi's brother is taking care of the Terveen children, Braydon, 5, and Hudson, 2. Aaron works for the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
On Thursday, Nov. 17 the family reported on Caring Bridge that Aaron had an 18 millimeter left temporal brain bleed, with another small bleed at the base of the brain stem. The C5 vertebra is broken in front of the spinal cord, but doctors believed that it is not causing paralysis. The doctors are sedating him to keep him relaxed and he was getting nutrition through a feeding tube. A fiberoptic sensor had been installed to monitor pressure and swelling. Aaron was responding to family and friends voices by squeezing their hands, and moving other parts of his body.
On Monday, Nov. 21, family friend Candace Gustafson said she had a report that there was some improvement.
"Sounds like he had great improvement today, opening his eyes just a little bit," said Gustafson.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23 Mandi reported on Caringbridge that Aaron had a feeding tube attached directly to his stomach about 9:30 p.m. and it went well. However his right lung collapsed. The doctors used a light and camera and found redness swelling, and mucus.
"The way I understand it is, he has pneumonia and two different bacteria are growing and these antibiotics target those bacteria," said Mandi. "He also went in to the OR to have a trach placed and did very well."
On Thanksgiving Day, Mandi said Aaron had a good, quiet day and continued to be stable.
"We are arranging for him to get his earphones and favorite music tomorrow," she said. "The neurologist suggested that we start with stimulation now, and says the earlier we can begin that with his physical therapy, the better his outcome will be when he comes out of the coma."
Gustafson, along with former co-workers from Pioneer Bank are working to hold a fundraiser to help the family with medical expenses not covered by insurance. There will be a chili feed and silent auction at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at the American West Steakhouse hospitality room. People are asked to use the side entrance. American West will donate the use of the hospitality room for the fundraiser.
The group is asking people to bring items for the silent auction or to contact them so they can pick up items. Contact Candace Gustafson at 645-9965. Items can also be dropped off at Pioneer Bank and Trust in Belle Fourche. Santa will be visiting the fundraiser and there will be an opportunity to purchase a photo of children with Santa.
"I'm just so relieved and thankful to God that he is alive," said Julie Brunner. "I began praying for him right away and also texted a friend to pray, as well. When I finally got in to church, which had already started, we stopped and prayed. I didn't know the name of the man until the next morning."