Mother of Kentlake High student killed in crash continues recovery

Community rallies to support Sarah Baileigh who remains hospitalized after Nov. 17 collision in Kent

Sarah Baileigh, the mother of a Kentlake High School girl killed in a Nov. 17 wrong-way driver crash in Kent, continues to recover in a hospital from her injuries suffered in the collision.

Nasturcia Baileigh, 17, a Kentlake senior, died in the crash in the 15600 block of SE 272nd St. Anthony Lee Carpenter, 28, of Algona, the wrong-way driver and in a stolen vehicle, also died in the collision. Sarah Baileigh, who was driving, suffered serious injuries.

Diana Lanham, of Duvall, who posted a GoFundMe page to help Baileigh cover funeral/burial costs, a family vehicle and any new financial strains stemming from the crash, recently updated Sarah Baileigh’s condition.

“In the days that have followed Sarah’s hospitalization and her daughter’s passing, Sarah has endured five surgeries to repair her crushed and broken bones,” Lanham wrote Dec. 4 on the GoFundMe page. “As I mentioned before, her heart and lungs sustained significant damage from the blunt force trauma and were not able to function on their own.

“I am happy to report that Sarah was taken off her heart medicine and it seems to be working! Her lungs are still underperforming and continue to need medical assistance, but the staff are positive that this too will improve.”

The nurses have begun moving Baileigh in and out of her wheelchair.

“She’s only able to remain sitting in the chair for up to 10 minutes, but the fact that she can be moved off of her hospital bed without intense pain and damage to her surgeries is a huge win,” Lanham said. “The goal is for Sarah to be recovered enough to be home by Christmas.”

It’s going to be a long recovery for Baileigh, 38, of Covington, including at-home aftercare.

“Sarah will be in a wheelchair for an estimated 10 to 12 weeks, and will need the assistance of a licensed caregiver for the first three to four months,” Lanham said. “We have also learned that Sarah will need specialized hospital transfers to take her back and forth for hospital check-ins.”

Community support

Lanham started the GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $50,000, which was just recently met. As of Dec. 8, $51,015 had been raised with 417 donations.

“Since the launch of the GoFundMe, just a few days after Sarah and Sturcia’s horrific accident, the outpouring of love and grace has been astonishing,” Lanham said.

The home care will be another expense that Lanham didn’t anticipate when she began the fundraiser.

“This is why your donations continue to be a godsend,” she said.

In addition to Nasturcia, Baileigh has three other children ages 15, 9 and 7.

Lanham, in an earlier GoFundMe post, thanked the community for its support.

“When I sit with Sarah in the hospital, we go through the donor list and it truly brings tears to her eyes,” Lanham said. “Worrying about her kids while she’s been in the hospital has been a heavy burden. But knowing that her children have been surrounded not just by her best friends and family, but now by all of you as well, has absolutely lifted that burden from her heart.”