Woman injured in scooter crash recognizes family

Mirika Bideganeta, who was left behind after the wreck, still has a long recovery ahead, her mother says.

jsowell@idahostatesman.comJuly 25, 2013 

— A Meridian woman seriously injured in a crash this month is “making great progress,” said Sandy Bideganeta, who wonders how much better off her daughter could be if she had gotten immediate medical attention.

“She’s making great progress,” Bideganeta said. “I tell people she’s making huge baby steps.”

Mirika Bideganeta, 29, was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center the morning of July 7 in a coma, suffering from a serious head injury. She was first treated in the intensive care unit and then moved to the hospital’s neurology unit when she started breathing on her own and no longer required life support, her mother said.

She has begun to recognize family members and seems to understand where she is, Sandy Bideganeta said.

The woman is paralyzed on her right side and hasn’t talked yet, but her mother holds out hope for continued improvement. Mirika Bideganeta is receiving some physical therapy each day, and the medical staff is working to increase it bit by bit until she can handle three hours a day.

On Thursday afternoon, Bideganeta was listed in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police say Bideganeta was riding on the back of a scooter driven by Thomas A. MacFarlane, 22, when it crashed near Garfield and Manitou streets.

She wasn’t discovered until more than four hours later. She was found in the driveway of a residence by a man who came out to walk his dog. Bideganeta had reportedly been dragged or carried a block and a half from the crash site and left there.

MacFarlane, a Boise State University student, was charged with felony leaving the scene of an injury accident. Last week, he waived a preliminary hearing and was bound over to Ada County 4th District Court. He was released from the Ada County Jail on Tuesday after posting $250,000 bond, and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday before Judge Patrick Owen.

Prosecutors said MacFarlane admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash.

MacFarlane has been found guilty of speeding three times in the past two years, including once in a school zone.

Mirika Bideganeta had recently returned to the Treasure Valley after residing in Pocatello. She was hired as a stylist and nail technician at the Two Rivers Salon and Spa in Eagle and was living in Meridian.

Her three young children had gone to stay with their father and grandparents in Pocatello before the crash, Sandy Bideganeta said. They remain there but she hopes they’ll be able to come see their mom this weekend for the first time since the accident.

“I think it would do her a lot of good to see them,” she said.

Could immediate aid have helped?

Sandy Bideganeta says she is angry with MacFarlane. She said she could almost forgive him for crashing the scooter after drinking, if that proves true. However, she said she still struggles to understand why her daughter was carried or dragged away from the accident and left on her own, rather than cared for.

“I wouldn’t do that if I hit a dog,” she said. “If she had gotten help during those more than four hours that she laid there, I can’t help but think her paralysis wouldn’t have happened.” Right now, however, her focus is on her daughter. She and Mirika’s father, Scott Bideganeta, have visited every day. They say they’re grateful for their daughter’s friends who have visited her in the hospital and who have passed along their best wishes.

“We’re still praying for her and we’re accepting prayers from anyone else who could pray for her,” Sandy Bideganeta said.

Helping Mirika Bideganeta

A website has been established to provide updates on Mirika Bideganeta’s condition and to raise money for her medical care. She did not have health insurance. Click here to help.

John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell

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