A local woman's road to recovery after horrific crash that killed her boyfriend - East Idaho News

A local woman’s road to recovery after horrific crash that killed her boyfriend

  Published at  | Updated at

REXBURG — A traumatic brain injury, a broken femur and a blown eye socket. These are among a sheet-long list of injuries that 24-year-old Hannah Britton is recovering from.

“I have 23 broken bones. I had nine lifesaving surgeries and all of those surgeries happened in nine days,” Britton said.

On Aug. 11, Britton, who was living in Rexburg at the time, was with her boyfriend – Broc Stoddard, 22. He was driving her white Nissan on the highway while she sat near him. They were headed to Salt Lake City for a weekend of fun with friends.

But then, everything changed.

The fatal crash

Just after 12:30 p.m. that day, a man named Alonso Hernandez-Garcia from Washington was driving east on U.S. Highway 20 when he lost control of his vehicle — a gray 2012 Honda Accord. He drove through the median and into westbound traffic, crashing head-on into Britton’s vehicle, according to Idaho State Police.

This happened near mile-marker 320 near the south Rigby exit.

It was a devastating crash, and Britton was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls by ambulance, then flown by air ambulance to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City due to the extent of her injuries.

She doesn’t remember the crash at all.

RELATED | Man killed in Friday’s crash on US 20 identified

She lost her boyfriend

While she was severely injured in the crash, Stoddard, her boyfriend of six months, died of his injuries at the scene.

Britton said the crash happened three days after his birthday. He had just turned 22 on Aug. 8.

“He was perfect. There’s not a better person than Broc. Just the love of my life. I can’t get too into it…it’s just too hard,” Britton told EastIdahoNews.com. “He’s a friend to everybody. He inspired people and he was just…such a kind man.”

Britton said he lived in Rexburg, and had just applied to Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Jonathan Stoddard – Broc Stoddard’s father – said Broc always had a smile on his face.

“He was a comedian. He was a jokester. He made everyone laugh when he walked into the room. Broc loved everybody,” Jonathan Stoddard said.

Jonathan Stoddard said Britton was a positive influence to his son.

“Meeting Hannah, she helped change his direction in life,” he said.

Britton is doing the best she can after a tragedy like this one. Though she is recovering physically, she believes healing emotionally will be more of a challenge.

“Somebody died and it’s not just anybody. It was somebody who was really special to me. A family lost their son. A lot of people lost their friend, somebody they look up to. He was just amazing,” she said. “I just got to get through every day.”

387573575 701968454768176 8022489452403276451 n
Broc Stoddard and Hannah Britton. | Courtesy Hannah Britton

Injuries and physical recovery

Britton continues to recover physically each day. She’s at her mother’s house in Salt Lake City, while she attends therapy appointments almost on a daily basis.

“It can be from an hour to two hours and it will be all types of therapy. I mean…you say ‘therapy’ and people usually think mental therapy. My therapy is occupational therapy, and speech therapy. It will be physical therapy. All those types of therapies,” Britton shared.

Right now, she is in a wheelchair and can’t walk.

“I will be learning how to walk within the next two weeks. We ordered a walker,” she said. “My pelvis was broken in the crash. It was broken pretty badly. So my pelvis is actually screwed into my tailbone with three ginormous screws.”

Her vision is blurry too, due to a blown eye socket. Britton said she has been getting her vision back in her left eye slowly. It’s fuzzy and still hard to see.

“Everything looks like I am in a cloud. It’s just kind of blurry… I have a metal plate in my face underneath my eye,” she said.


Her recovery has been remarkably fast.

“I should still be in the hospital right now. I have just been recovering so fast, it’s been a miracle,” Britton said.

Evan Thomas, Britton’s stepdad, said she has been doing home rehab now for three weeks. He said she wasn’t supposed to be out of the ICU until the end of September and the overall plan was for her to be in the hospital for at least five months.

“I am pretty much convinced that she is going to have a total recovery,” Thomas said of his stepdaughter.

He said she has a will to live and she is a fighter.

Britton’s mother, Janie Thomas, recalls the time her daughter had been in the hospital for just a week, and she had almost died. Doctors had called her and her husband at three in the morning so they could say their goodbyes. But Britton kept surviving.

“I think the thing that is interesting is we keep learning about what a miracle all of this is. Everything that we have seen is a miracle,” said Janie Thomas.

Jonathan Stoddard said he talks to Britton every week and he is rooting for her recovery.

“I just want Hannah and her family to know how much I love and appreciate who they are, the type of people they are. I am just grateful to know them and that my son was able to associate with them,” he said. “My entire family are rooting for Hannah to have a quick recovery to gain the strength she needs to live a full life. There isn’t a prayer that we don’t say that doesn’t have Hannah’s name in it.”

Hopes and accomplishments

Britton has high hopes of moving forward. She wants to go back to school at BYU-Idaho and get her degree. She is very close to graduating.

“I am going to graduate in communications digital and social media marketing. I’ve got 12 credits left,” she said. “I want to get back to life. I want to get back to weightlifting. I love weightlifting.”

She wants to ride her bike, be with friends and feel normal again. She has her own spray tan business she ran out of her apartment that she is passionate about.

Throughout this tragedy — which still doesn’t feel real to her — Britton has stayed strong and has been as positive as she can be.

“When you have hard things come, you have to, in my mind, overcome them. I think a lot of it has come from my amazing parents. They have been with me every step of the way and then a lot of it has been prayer,” she explained. “I know so many people have been praying for my recovery. I feel like God has blessed me to get better.”

As for the other man in the crash

Hernandez-Garcia, the 19-year-old police say is responsible for the crash, has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.

A witness of the crash told an ISP trooper the Honda – which Hernandez-Garcia had been driving – had passed her traveling eastbound on US-20 at speeds over 90 mph. Court documents said the speed limit in the area is 70 mph.

According to evidence on the road and witness statements, “the Honda failed to maintain its designated lane by going through the median and into oncoming eastbound traffic,” court documents said. That’s when the Honda impacted the Nissan, causing the fatality.

RELATED | New details about fatal Jefferson County crash that led to vehicular manslaughter charge

“I just hope that (Hernandez-Garcia) understands that this is a tragedy for the rest of us. I can’t get into it because it’s just so painful and it’s so hard…that there’s a person responsible for this hurt and pain,” Britton said.

According to court records, Hernandez-Garcia is scheduled for a jury trial on Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Jefferson County courthouse.

“I don’t hate this young man. I know that your decisions determine your destiny and I know that some of his choices have affected hundreds of people’s lives. I want justice for the loss of my son,” Stoddard said. “I’d give up everything I have to have one more hug from my son.”


A GoFundMe was created for Britton by her father, Robert Britton. It’s to help with the financial burden of medical costs.

So far, $10,580 has been raised out of the $100,000 asked for — as of Thursday afternoon. There have been over 100 donations.

She is incredibly grateful for the support people have shown her.

“They’re so thoughtful to donate or reach out or just even pray or think about me. It means the world to me. I think that’s what’s getting me through,” she said.

If you would like to help in Britton’s recovery by donating, click here.

“I feel beyond blessed. My heart is so full,” she said about the donations and support.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.