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River Bluff’s principal & family returning to Lexington Friday after near fatal collision in Hawaii

Lexington, SC 08/03/2023 (Paul Kirby) - Rebekah “Bekah” Smith’s family plan to return home to Lexington tomorrow after a life-altering car accident that occurred while the Smiths were on vacation in Hawaii this summer. The nearly fatal collision happened on June 28, 2023. Bekah, 18, is the daughter of Jacob Smith and his wife. Mr. Smith is the principal of River Bluff High School in the Town of Lexington off Corley Mill Road.

Bekah’s injuries in the collision were almost fatal. She received an atlanto-occipital dislocation with an associated C1 and C2 fracture of her neck. This is sometimes called a Hangman’s Fracture and is most often caused by serious vehicle collisions. Bekah also has a traumatic brain injury. Bekah’s father Jacob, and her brothers, Jake, and Banks, also sustained injuries in the crash.

According to her father, after receiving dedicated care at The Queen’s Medical Center (ICU) in Honolulu, Bekah was flown via air ambulance to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Shepherd’s Center is one of the premier spinal and neurological rehabilitation hospitals in the United States. According to their website, Shepherd Center is where people in need of personalized rehabilitation after severe neurological injury or illness find care and compassion to begin again. They specialize in the rehabilitation of patients with the most complex spinal cord and brain injuries, traumatic stroke, and other neurological conditions. Jacob Smith said in a statement released that, “Bekah has made remarkable progress in her recovery.”

The Smith family anticipates arriving back in Lexington at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 4th. When they return, there will be a heartwarming "Welcome Home" procession that will start at Sunset Boulevard (Hwy 378) and Corley Mill Road. It will then follow Corley Mill, pass through River Bluff High School’s entrance and make a loop back out to Corley Mill Road. It will end at the Smith’s home in the Saluda River Club neighborhood which is just a short distance from the high school.

The community, students, and staff of River Bluff and Lexington School District One are asked to turn out tomorrow and help celebrate the Smith’s resilience and their unwavering support for Bekah Smith and the Smith family.

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