APACHE JUNCTION, AZ — She's seen her fair share of wounds, but Saturday night Valley nurse Rachel Baldwin walked into a hospital to find her son bloodied and broken.
"He had an epidural brain bleed and he also a subdural hematoma," said Baldwin. "He has a skull fracture in a few places and a few facial fractures.”
Her son, 19-year-old Anthony Easterday, was on his way to his family's Apache Junction home from his job at a Jackson's Car Wash in Phoenix just before a chain reaction crash.
"A vehicle was eastbound US-60 at milepost 178 in the left emergency lane attempting to pull a disabled vehicle off the highway with a tow strap," said Bart Graves with the Arizona Department of Safety. "The tow vehicle entered the HOV lane, was struck by another passing vehicle. The impact caused the tow vehicle to be pushed into the middle lanes of traffic." That impact led to at least two other crashes, that killed the tow driver after DPS says he got out of his truck.
Easterday was trapped in his car and had to be extricated by emergency responders.
"I don’t know how he made it out of that alive," said Baldwin, after she spotted Easterday's car in a tow yard the next morning. "Anything can happen at any moment.”
Baldwin says she's optimistic her son will make a full recovery, but it won't come without challenges.
"I'm not really aware of the cost yet, which is even more scary," she said. "The hospital that we're at is out of network for our insurance and we're responsible for 20 percent of the bill. I don't know the exact amount, I'm assuming it's going to be up there though."
Easterday's family has created an online fundraiser in anticipation of high medical costs associated with his injuries.
It's a looming toll on a family as they try to focus on Easterday's recovery.
"He’s lying in the bed you know just worried about getting to work and if he’s going to lose his job," said Baldwin.
Still, his family grateful he survived, and know well circumstances could have been different.
“The reason Anthony is alive is because he was wearing his seatbelt," added Baldwin. "There’s no way he would’ve walked away from that crash if he hadn’t been.”