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'It's a miracle': Palm Harbor firefighter released from hospital

Lt. Ashley White was hit by a car on US-19
Lt. Ashley White
Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 28, 2021

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Lt. Ashley White is now out of the hospital and at home with her family. The Palm Harbor Firefighter was struck by a speeding car on US-19 on Sept. 22 while helping two other drivers who crashed.

Tuesday, cheers echoed from the terrace of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg as Lt. White was wheeled outside and greeted by fellow first responders, nurses, and doctors who assisted in her care. Palm Harbor Fire Chief Scott Sanford said he couldn’t believe his eyes.

"It’s hard not to get choked up. Wednesday morning if you would have told me this would be the outcome of this, I would have never slightly imagined this could happen like this,” he said.

RELATED: Palm Harbor firefighter hit by pickup truck while responding to crash on US 19, fire rescue says

Just six days ago, White was hit by a speeding driver in an early morning collision. The man who hit her first rammed into two fire trucks, then smashed into Lt. White, investigators said.

White went through two surgeries. The first was six hours long as doctors worked on her left leg to repair several broken bones. The second surgery was on her left arm and was more than two hours long, according to Sanford.

Lt. Ashley White is welcomed home after being treated for injuries suffered in a crash
Lt. Ashley White is welcomed home after being treated for injuries suffered in a crash

“They told her she needed to walk 50 feet before they would release her from the hospital. So she made that her priority and she walked 50 feet with a walker three or four days after being battered by a 7,000-pound vehicle. It’s a miracle. I don’t have any other justification or explanation other than that. She has come through and the outpouring from the community, the prayers, it’s just incredible,” Sanford added.

Her story is resonating with other first responders too.

“I want to say thank you to Ashley for being strong for the rest of us. It gives us all hope and it also makes us open our eyes, make sure we’re safe,” explained Garth Swingle, the St. Pete Deputy Fire Marshall.

The community has raised more than $75,000 for her family and while Lt. White still has a long road towards recovery, Chief Sanford says when she’s determined, there’s no stopping her.

“Knowing Ashley, she can do anything,” he said with a smile.