By Jennifer Gallus
A head-on collision involving a Howard Lake family with a semi-truck occurred Tuesday evening near Waverly on Highway 12.
Sam Munoz, 16, of Howard Lake was driving a 2000 Chevy Malibu with passengers being his mother Kristine Munoz, 39, his sister Amanda, 13, and his brother Joshua, 10, when the accident occurred, according the State Patrol incident report.
Munoz’s vehicle was westbound on Highway 12, and entered the eastbound lane, where the head-on collision occurred with a 1995 Ford tractor trailer driven by Timothy Lahr, 45, of Blaine, according to the report.
Samuel was airlifted to the Hennepin County Medical Center, while Kristine, Amanda, and Joshua were transported to the Buffalo Hospital by ambulance.
Kristine was then airlifted to HCMC, and Amanda and Joshua were transported to HCMC.
Lahr was treated and released from the Buffalo Hospital, according to the report.
“Apparently when Terry (Kristine’s husband/kids’ father) arrived at the scene, the highway patrol said it was a miracle that anyone even survived,” said a friend of the family, Terri Harris, of Maple Plain.
As of press time, Sam is listed in critical condition, Kristine is listed in satisfactory condition, Amanda is listed in satisfactory condition, and Joshua is listed in satisfactory condition.
Kristine and her husband, Terry, are both active youth ministers in the area, and started Side by Side Ministries in 1999, which is based out of Golden Valley.
Kristine was the youth minister at Delano Catholic Community until 1998. “Many of their core team leaders today are former students of Kris’ from Delano,” said Delano Catholic Community youth minister Ellen Bauman.
Terry was the youth minister at St. Therese in Deephaven for many years before the couple started Side by Side Ministries.
Injuries initially sustained
The following was taken from the family’s CaringBridge web site the following day of the accident, which is www.caringbridge.org/visit/munoz.
Kris sustained a broken clavicle, left femur fracture, subarachnoid hematoma (small bleed in the head in the space that surrounds the brain), small pneumothorax (collapsed lung) on her right lower lobe, broken acetabular bone (which helps to form your hip joint).
Upon arrival to the hospital Kris was sent to surgery to have a pin put for her femur fracture. She was put in bucks traction (weights applied to the leg to keep the leg immobile so it can heal correctly).
Sam sustained what the doctors are calling a brain stem injury and is in a coma (your brain stem sits at the base of your brain and connects your spinal cord to the rest of the brain, it controls all your involuntary muscles such as the stomach and heart), multiple lacerations on his left side, and lacerations to his right shin.
He was put on a ventilator (moves air in and out of the lungs). He is in critical condition. Sam is overriding the ventilator, praise God! Meaning he is breathing on his own. His heart is very strong and has been stable since the accident.
Amanda sustained a hematoma (collection of blood) inside her spleen and has several fractured ribs, and a lot of bruising on her abdomen from the seat belt.
Josh sustained a broken left tibia bone, right ankle fracture, and a left broken clavicle. Last evening Josh had casts placed on both of his legs.
The web site is continually being updated with everyone’s condition.
Another entry to the web site read, “Today the whole family was joined together in one ICU room, bed to bed, joining hands in love and prayer. Terry is moving from bed to bed and is praying with great faith.”
The history of Side by Side
Side by Side Ministries is the vision of directors Terry and Kristine Munoz, who bring more than 30 years of combined professional youth ministry experience with them, according to the web site www.sbsyouth.org.
The ministry opened its doors in August of 1999 and serves more than 70 churches in the Twin Cities area.
Side by Side Ministries partners with church communities to establish clear vision for building effective youth ministry and to provide excellent resources for youth ministry programming. SBS provides junior and senior high retreat opportunities.
Since college, Kris and Terry have been involved in some form of youth ministry. It has been their life’s passion to serve and see healthy successful youth programs. The have sacrificed much over the years and have touched thousands of lives. They are family to many, according to the www.sbsyouth.org.
Prayers and donations are welcome
“What the family needs now is people to believe, like they do, that Sam will have a full recovery as an answer to the magnitude of prayers,” Terry told a friend.
A prayer chain has been set up so that every two minutes, someone is praying for the family even in Guatemala, which is where the family has traveled to do ministry work, as well.
A fund is being set up for the family and anyone wishing to donate may contact Side by Side Ministries at (763) 797-0441 or at www.sbsyouth.org.