Update: SUV, Truck Collide, Driver Critical

By: John Chapman & Jodi Baker Email
By: John Chapman & Jodi Baker Email

A 25-year-old Omaha woman remains in critical condition after being injured in a crash at the intersection of Harry Anderson Boulevard and Harrison Street Friday morning.

Amber Wilkins' SUV was hit broadside around 8 a.m. by a fully loaded dump truck carrying dirt. The damage to her vehicle was so severe it took rescue crews an extended period of time to free her from the wreckage. A medical helicopter was called to take Wilkins to the Nebraska Medical Center.

Police say the truck driver, 30-year-old Anthony Nielson of Council Bluffs, told officers he was traveling west on Harrison Street when the light changed at the intersection. Investigators say they were told the light was yellow when the truck entered the intersection.

"The light probably turned yellow, (the) driver of the truck preceded through the intersection due to the weight of the vehicle, wasn’t able to come to a stop at that time, the Explorer traveling southbound Harrison and the truck struck the vehicle on the driver’s side door, pushing it over,” said La Vista Police Sgt. Brian Waugh.

Nielson was not injured. There is no indication yet if anyone will be cited.

Andrew and Vi Frost were out walking their dog when they heard the crash and ran over to see if they could help. "When I first walked up to the car I saw the driver completely on the passenger side, she had been pushed completely over and was pinned in the car almost with the truck on top of her,” said Andrew.

“The emergency people, I saw them do all they could to extract her,” said Vi. “It took awhile because of the impact and the way everything was situated. They were awesome.”

Frost says there was a nurse at the scene who crawled into the wreckage to give Amber aid. The Frosts say it’s a bad stretch of road and there’s always some type of traffic problem there.

"This whole strip of road here, it's a long way to the light at Harry Anderson," said Andrew. "People do speed 65 mph so if a light all of a sudden went yellow it's quite difficult for the truck to slow down."

The Wilkins family lost a daughter, 15-year-old Kayla, in a car crash five years ago. That was top of mind with Wilkins' family friend, John Drexel, Friday night.

He said the Wilkins are "devout Christians," and that they are holding on to their faith and the power of prayer right now. The family is part of Christ Community Church.

One friend put out this prayer invitation via facebook. As of Friday evening, the page had nearly 700 members who vowed to pray for Amber Wilkins' recovery.

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