Family members of a 35-year-old woman critically injured in a freak crash were reeling Monday as the woman remained on life-support to allow for organ donation.
But they took solace knowing that her organs will help others.
Sara Steiner was taken to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy after the Friday crash. Steiner’s organs will be donated, said Tammy Trahan, her mother.
Steiner was injured Friday morning when a deer crashed through the windshield of her car while she was driving to work. An SUV had struck the deer, which then went airborne and crashed into Steiner’s car. The deer hit her in the head and exited through the rear window, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Trahan said her daughter was about 4½ months’ pregnant with a baby boy, who has died.
Trahan said her daughter was known for her bubbly and outgoing personality.
“She just had zest,’’ her mother said.
Her daughter was also known for her generosity, and her organ donation is a powerful example, Trahan said.
Kara Cordell of Nebraska Organ Recovery said she couldn’t talk about Steiner’s case. But she said it can take several days from the time of an accident until a donor’s organs are ready to be recovered.
For example, sometimes organs are injured in an accident, she said, but healing can occur while the donor remains on a ventilator for several days.
Steiner had married Joseph Steiner in November, and her mother-in-law called her a “ray of sunshine.”
“She’s just got a wide open smile,’’ Julie Steiner said. “So much love to spread.”
Aaron Traudt, her brother, called her a wonderful big sister and a good listener.
“I could be 100 percent open with her and not worry about any kind of judgment,’’ he said.
Steiner grew up in Fremont and lived in Douglas County near 120th and State Streets. Her brother said she has a 5-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
In the Friday crash, Dr. Mark Kusek of Bennington was driving a 2017 Tesla Model X sport utility vehicle east on Nebraska Highway 36 when the SUV struck the deer. Kusek was not injured.
Steiner was driving west on Highway 36 in a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.
World-Herald staff writer Kevin Cole contributed to this report.