Steve Phillips of Shelbina, and his family, have a lot to be thankful for as this new year begins. His step sons, David W. and Rickie J. Miller, were seriously injured in a spectacular accident on StardustDrive on Friday, Dec. 27, along with their friend, Amanda Cullen. On New Year's Day, Phillips reported that all three of the young people have been released from the hospital, and he's hopeful they will realize full recoveries from their injuries.
David W. Miller, 29, was the driver of the 1994 Blazer, the vehicle that was the most seriously impacted in the early afternoon accident. His stepfather said that the impact broke a vein behind his eye, and he is currently more or less blind. He was treated and released from Hannibal Regional Hospital, Phillips said, but the next day the family took him to Columbia for examination. "I hope he will regain his eyesight. He's having bad headaches," Phillips said.
Ricky J. Miller, 28, David's brother, was in the front passenger seat at the time of impact. When he was removed from the car, "they put him down in gasoline, and that ate him alive on his backside and legs," Phillips said. He also received a concussion. He was airlifted to Columbia, and has since been released.
Amanda Cullen, 24, who was in the back seat, received a head injury which required staples. Phillips said she was airlifted from HRH to Columbia for treatment, and has since been released.
"All three of them were really banged up," Phillips said. "Thank God that they're alive."
As bad as the injuries were, before Phillips and Cathy Woodward – the Miller men's mother – arrived at the hospital, they were already hearing harsh rumors about the condition of the accident victims.
"I don't know why people stretch the truth – or make it worse than it is," he said. "I'm just glad the rumors weren't true.
"I just want to make sure the kids get their health back," he said.
The accident has put the family – which was already strapped for cash, "in a nasty bind," Phillips said. "We could use help getting the kids back and forth to Columbia to see the doctors," and to pay for prescriptions ordered by the doctors.
"We have broken down vehicles that are not in good enough shape to go that far," he said, from Shelbina to Columbia and back. "We'll run them till the wheels fall off."
Anyone who would like to help the family may send donations to the Miller men's mother, Cathy Woodward, 309 N. Second St., Shelbina, MO 63468.
"I just want to make sure the kids get their health back," Phillips said. "We've got to get through this."
Robert D. Majors of Ralls County was arrested by Hannibal police following the accident for driving while suspended. The truck Majors was driving belonged to Matthew T. Bates, Hannibal.