Friends, family rally to help Elgin couple badly injured in winter crash

·2 min read

Dec. 17—ELGIN — Community members are rallying to help a couple who were badly injured in a recent car accident.

Michael Whitten and his girlfriend, Suzanne Hoffman, were hurt in a winter-related crash outside of Elgin on Monday, Dec. 6, and are facing hefty medical bills. Friends and family have come together in helping the two overcome the injuries and afford their bills ahead of the holiday season.

"We're super appreciative," Whitten said. "There's so many emotions to describe the support we've received."

Following the first snowfall of the season in Union County, a truck collided with Whitten and Hoffman as the two vehicles were driving over a bridge near Elgin. Whitten was hospitalized locally for his injuries, while Hoffman was transported via Life Flight to Boise.

Whitten stated that he was driving when they were crossing the bridge into Elgin just before Timber's Feedery around 10 a.m. With the recent snowfall, the vehicle slid on a slab of ice as the truck was passing. The truck hit Hoffman's side, leaving her severely injured.

"My list of injuries is almost too long to list," Hoffman said.

Hoffman has undergone a number of medical procedures due to injuries to her knee, ribs, hip and brain. Whitten had surgery for a fractured foot on Dec. 14 and is now going back and forth between Boise and Elgin to look out for the couple's kids, who are ages 13, 10 and 8.

As the medical bills stacked up and the holidays approached, the couple found themselves without their only vehicle and looking to still take care of three children. Friends and family showed their concern by creating an online fundraiser to help the couple get through their recovery.

"I started the fundraiser in attempts to help them bridge the gaps for their medical care, help their family with the three children and help the family who has been in Boise with Suzanne," said Nicole Billman, who organized the fundraiser.

Billman grew up with Hoffman and the two have been friends since the seventh grade. Hoffman works for Oregon Family Support Network and Michael works at Walmart. The couple has resided in Elgin for the past four years.

"We will get through this stronger than ever, especially with the village we have behind us," Hoffman said.

As of Dec. 16, the GoFundMe for the couple had raised just under $3,000 from 34 donors. The goal of the fundraiser is listed at $15,000. The online fundraiser can be accessed by going to www.gofundme.com and searching for "Help Michael After Car Accident."

"We're doing better," Whitten said. "We're getting there."

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