Family fights to keep pregnant victim on life support after freak accident

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Wendy Rodriguez was critically injured by a tree that fell on her minivan.

A Durham man is fighting to keep his pregnant girlfriend on life support at Duke Hospital, following a freak accident during the weekend.

Luis Zavala told ABC11 that on Saturday, he and Wendy Rodriguez, 30, were sitting inside their minivan outside their apartment on Trinity Avenue when high winds caused a large tree to come crashing on top of them.

"We were talking," he said. "I was singing a song to her when we started to hear the sound and when we turned, the tree was falling on top of us. The last thing that I remember was I felt the tree hit my head and everything went dark."


Zavala said he was knocked unconscious, but came to when he heard Rodriguez screaming for help. He was able to make it out on his own, but Durham firefighters had to cut Rodriguez out of the van.

EMS rushed both to Duke Hospital. Zavala is still recovering from his injuries, but says Rodriguez, who's 21 weeks pregnant, is brain dead and on life support. Doctors have suggested taking her off life support.

"She was a woman who's a fighter, enthusiastic, a fast learner, hard worker, happy and not only will I remember her that way, but her family members and more than anything, her friends will too," Zavala said.

Zavala said Rodriguez already had four children of her own, three of which are in her home country of Honduras. Zavala said the families are still hoping to keep her on life support long enough so the baby can be safely delivered.

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