LOVETTSVILLE, Va. — A mother driving to get ice cream with her young daughter is in the ICU after a tree fell on top of their car.
Grace Costello, 23, was driving north on Route 15 near Lovettsville Road in Loudoun County when a tree fell. It happened around 1:40 p.m. on Saturday.
The car traveled off the road and hit a guardrail, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Costello was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Victoria Costello said a large branch pierced through the windshield and impaled her sister to her seat. Her niece, 4-year-old Gia, was in the backseat unscathed.
"She was impaled by a 5-inch branch that stuck her in her seat," Victoria Costello said. "The first thing I noticed was seeing how her driver seat was pushed back and where my niece Gia was in the back seat, they were in the perfect view of each other. Gia said that her and mommy talked the whole time, so they coached each other through this."
A GoFundMe created by a family friend said Grace Costello underwent three surgeries to her abdomen and multiple blood transfusions due to the immense blood loss from the impalement. The branch damaged various vital organs and major blood vessels. Her family said she also suffered a fracture to her spine.
The family wants Grace Costello to focus on her recovery while they try to take care of any expenses. The donation page to help with expenses had already raised more than $19,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.
A single mother working as a dental assistant, Grace Costello was planning to move to a new apartment with her daughter.
"Being out of work with this incredibly long road of recovery ahead is something that's going to impact them tremendously," Victoria Costello said. "She's got purpose and has a lot to do on this Earth."
The family said Gia is doing fine so far, but understands she might need to see a therapist.
LCSO said at the same time, the driver of a vehicle traveling southbound on Route 15 witnessed the tree fall and was unable to stop in time. She declined medical treatment at the scene.