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‘We feel really blessed’: Father and daughter survive horrific crash in Rexburg


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REXBURG – A Rigby couple is grateful their young daughter is safe and sound after she and her dad were involved in a crash Monday morning.

Patrick Rhodes, 26, and his 9-month-old daughter, Israel “Raelee,” got caught underneath a semi on the north end of Rexburg and were dragged about 200 yards.

RELATED | UPDATE: Crash in north Rexburg believed to have been caused by semi-truck brake failure

Chelsea Rhodes, Patrick’s wife, tells they were traveling home from a doctor’s appointment on North 2nd East near Walmart. As Patrick was turning left to get on the on-ramp for U.S. Highway 20, a semi exiting the highway failed to stop and plowed right across the road onto the opposite on-ramp.

Patrick hit the semi and got caught underneath it, dragging his vehicle all the way to the end of the on-ramp for the westbound lane.

RELATED | North, south, east, west — which direction does U.S. Highway 20 really run?

“Patrick … remembers the initial impact and he said, ‘I looked up and could see the sky and I knew that was a problem,'” Chelsea says.

Authorities later determined the semi’s brakes had failed.

Once the vehicles came to a stop, Patrick, who was pinned in the car, was fighting to get out because Raelee was buckled in her car seat screaming. He remembers the paramedics telling him not to move so they could cut him out.

Crash CAr
Eric Grossarth,

“The police officer said he went up to the car and could hear her screaming from the time that he got out of his car. He said that was such a good sign. (The officer) knew she would be ok because she was so alert and screaming. He looked in there and she had these big brown eyes and just looked at him like, ‘Are you going to get me out of here or what?'” says Chelsea.

When they finally got her out, there wasn’t a mark on her.

Patrick and Raelee were taken by ambulance to Madison Memorial Hospital. An MRI and X-ray revealed that Raelee was, indeed, unharmed. Patrick walked away with a broken arm, several broken ribs and “intense” bruising on his lung and body.

Chelsea says Patrick is in a lot of pain, but considering how bad the accident was, he’s doing really good and the outcome could have been so much worse.

“We feel really blessed,” Chelsea says. “Patrick (who is studying to be a paramedic) said the first responders on the scene were so calm and helped him feel such peace. He knew everything was going to be ok. Everyone was really awesome at the hospital (too). The paramedics and police officers really took care of us and we appreciate it.”

Chelsea says Patrick is walking around and is expected to make a full recovery without any surgeries. As of Tuesday night, he was planning to attend classes Wednesday.

“We’re grateful to so many people who are willing to help and that our family is safe,” she says.

“Feeling pretty grateful for my people today,” Chelsea wrote in a Facebook post Monday night. “We are all just feeling so blessed to be together tonight.”

chelsea and raelee
Chelsea and Raelee at the hospital. | Courtesy Chelsea Rhodes
Chelsea Rhodes