WORTHINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Jeff Fisher finds solace knowing that his wife and two of his daughters are recovering from critical injuries received when a semitrailer crushed the side of a van driven by his wife but also must grieve for a daughter who died that day in Ohio.
The van was headed from the Fishers’ home in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Worthington to a high school water polo tournament in Napoleon, about two hours away, on Aug. 12. Authorities say Vicki Fisher, 45, pulled away from a stop sign into the path of the semitrailer.
Courtney Fisher, 19, had planned to help coach the Worthington Kilbourne High School team at the tournament. She died at the scene. Vicki Fisher, 17-year-old Betsey Fisher, 14-year-old Melanie Fisher and two other team members in the van were flown by helicopters to hospitals in Toledo. Fifteen-year-old Samantha Fink and 14-year-old Sydney Zullich have since gone home.
Jeff Fisher, 45, has remained in Toledo, maintaining a bedside vigil for his wife and two daughters. All three underwent surgery. Vicki Fisher’s arm had to be intentionally broken so she could be removed from the wreckage. The Henry County sheriff called it one of the worst accidents he’d seen.
“It’s been a miracle recovery,” Jeff Fisher told the Columbus Dispatch. “I could have been planning for four funerals. It could have been worse.”
He said he’s felt helpless, unable to help his family, which includes a 20-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son who weren’t on the trip. Courtney was about to start her sophomore year at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where she was enrolled in a pre-med program.
“How do you plan for your daughter’s funeral?” he said. “How do you plan for a tragic crash?”
The two-hour trip to Napoleon was familiar to the Fishers. Jeff Fisher guessed between himself and his wife, they’d made it at least five times for water polo competitions. Vicki Fisher was leading a three-vehicle caravan when the crash occurred.
The Toledo hospital where Vicki, Betsey and Melanie are being treated will make housing available so those released first can remain there until all three can go home at the same time.
“We’re going to come together and celebrate (Courtney’s) life with her friends and classmates … so we don’t have to remember the tragedy,” Jeff Fisher said.