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Life wrecked after accident

By TRAVIS WEIK - tweik@thecouriertimes.com

Two weeks ago, Peggy Claar was driving in the slow lane down South Memorial Drive when an SUV crossed multiple lanes of traffic and struck her head on.

Claar’s life hasn’t been the same since.

According to the accident report, the SUV driver, Carol Wickes, doesn’t remember what happened because she passed out behind the wheel.

Wickes reportedly told police that she had taken medicine earlier in the day and had been going about 80 mph when she passed out.

Wickes was arrested after the accident on a preliminary charge of driving while under the influence.

As of Monday, no formal charges had been filed against her.

Witnesses told New Castle police that the SUV was heading northbound on South Memorial Drive when it suddenly drove left of the center line and struck Claar’s car.

“It totally demolished the car,” said Beth Doddridge, Claar’s mother.

Police on the scene recognized that Claar had multiple injuries that would require hospitalization and surgery.

Both of Claar’s legs were broken, her hips were shattered, she fractured her neck, broke a shoulder, her arm and multiple ribs.

Claar underwent multiple surgeries as doctors pieced together her pelvic bones and arm.

Claar is staying with her mother while she recovers.

“I’m grateful to still be alive and not paralyzed,” she said.

Claar suffered no brain damage or spinal cord injury.

It was two days before Claar was lucid enough to call about insurance coverage to help pay for the medical costs.

Up until November 2017, Claar had been covered by the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and Medicaid.

She originally signed up for the programs 2½ years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer.

In November, Claar was told that she makes too much money to qualify for those programs any longer.

Now, she is struggling to find a way to cover the mounting hospital and ambulance bills.

“It’s pretty much put the hurt on me ... it was pretty devastating to me financially,” Claar said. “Sometimes, it’s an hour to hour struggle.”

Doddridge said she is getting by, but it is tough.

Before the Feb. 28 wreck, Claar was the sole provider for her family. Now, she has no income and no insurance to pay for the in-home nurse and physical therapist who visit.

“She’s just kind of hung out to dry here,” Doddridge said.

Because of the damage to her hips and legs, Claar is severely limited to how much she can move.

A friend gave Doddridge a hospital bed for Claar and they have a wheelchair to help get her around.

“I do plan to get better,” Claar said.

Claar owns Hair Care Professionals at the corner of 10th and Broad streets in New Castle. She has been working to get her cosmetology instructors license so she can could get on somewhere with health insurance.

Claar said she was over halfway to getting the required certification hours. The plan is to continue working towards her goal and becoming a beauty salon instructor.

Two ladies that help Claar at Hair Care Professionals are continuing to take of clients while Claar recovers.

There is a donation jar on the counter at the salon.

Claar appreciates the help and prayers, and is just trying to make it to tomorrow.

Anyone who would like to help Claar with her mounting medical cost can add to the jar at Hair Care Professionals, 115 N. 10th St., New Castle, or mail a donation to Peggy Claar, 700 N. Lincoln Drive, Cambridge City, IN 47327.