Survivor of horrific crash asks doctor who saved her to be in her senior pictures

This is what the Tortorich family's vehicle looked like after the crash. (Source: Tortorich Family)
This is what the Tortorich family's vehicle looked like after the crash. (Source: Tortorich Family)

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Many may be worrying about the turkey and candied yams, but some high school seniors are already looking toward graduation, not to mention picking just the right graduation photo.

"It's been a trip, with football and school," said Maggie Tortorich.

Wednesday was senior picture day for Maggie Tortorich.

"She has little snowflakes in her head," said Kristi Tortorich, Maggie's mother.

Time to melt the blustery weather with a smile, to have photographers make a fuss and preserve those high school memories for a lifetime.

"It's gone by really fast," Maggie Tortorich added.

It's a day she could never dream of as an 11-year-old ballerina.

"I just remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing this huge Jeep barreling toward us. I just kept looking back like, 'What's going on. She's not stopping.' Then, I blacked out," Maggie Tortorich explained.

On her way to dance lessons, she and her entire family were rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver.

"It was really bad," Dr. Luke Corsten said. "Her skull was crushed."

Corsten was the neurologist on call that afternoon.

"You think, 'God, what are you going to have to tell the family and what you're going to see' - how badly someone can get hurt," Corsten added.

"Her skull was in fragmented pieces. It fell apart in his hands," Kristi Tortorich said.

Kristi Tortorich lay in another part of the emergency room, unconscious. Maggie's grandmother had to make the decision of what to do with Maggie.

"Dr. Corsten came in very abruptly and said, 'You can sign this paper or not, but either way, if you don't, your granddaughter dies,'" Kristi Tortorich explained.

It took hours for Corsten to piece together Maggie's skull with tiny titanium plates … like snowflakes in her head.

"Today, my daughter is taking her senior pictures," Kristi Tortorich said.

"I know this doesn't happen. I'm an ER nurse. People don't walk away from an accident like this. They don't graduate high school. They don't go to prom," she added.

And, Maggie asked the photographer to save a few frames for the man who made it possible.

"It's a wonderful honor to these types of surprises. It's great to be part of her life still," Corsten said.

"He's not just a doctor. He's more family than anything," Maggie Tortorich said.

When football and prom are just distant memories, Maggie will always have the pictures and her snowflakes to remember how fleeting life can be.

Maggie Tortorich will graduate from Dutchtown High in May. She has already been accepted to LSU where she plans to study kinesiology and sports medicine.

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