When Laura Honeycutt heard one of her patients talking to a visitor, she was almost certain they had met before.
Angie Maupin was recovering from a spinal cord injury at Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture of Ballad Health and Encompass Health, in Johnson City, Tennessee.
“This was back during the COVID lockdown, so she was talking to him at the window,” Honeycutt recalled. “I heard her say the name Darrell, and I knew it had to be them.”
After hearing that name, she had to ask, “Were you in a car accident?” The answer was yes.
A Loud Crash
About three weeks earlier, Maupin and Darrell Deitz were hiking in the North Carolina mountains. By the time they made their way home, the fog was so thick, they could hardly see. They were driving on a two-way street when another car was approaching head on at 55 mph hitting them head on, and wrapping their car around a tree.
“It happened so fast,” Maupin said. “I remember the impact and the glass shattering.” Then came an “angelic voice.”
That was the voice of her future nurse, Honeycutt.
Honeycutt and her husband were leaving church, when they heard a loud crash. Without question, they immediately rerouted to see what happened and if they could help.
Maupin’s car was wrapped around a tree, and she and Deitz were trapped inside.
“I just thought, I’m a nurse, I can help until the ambulance gets here,” she said. “I assessed the situation, and we stayed there with them.”
A Calming Presence
Maupin remembers little more than hearing Honeycutt’s voice, as she encouraged her to stay strong, ensuring her help was coming.
Honeycutt said her goal was to keep them conscious until the first responders arrived. She spoke with Maupin and Deitz gently, asking her about the other passenger, asking her their names.
“It was her voice that kept me here. She’s my hero,” Deitz said. “She stopped and took care of us when really, most people wouldn’t have done that. It would have been much easier for them to keep driving, but they did the hard thing—they stopped.”
Reunited in Rehabilitation
After her injuries stabilized, Maupin was admitted to Quillen to allow her the therapy she needed to continue in her recovery and get back home.
Honeycutt said she didn’t make the connection when Maupin first checked into the rehabilitation hospital, but when she heard her say Darrell’s name, it all clicked. Maupin was shocked to learn that the nurse who was caring for her in rehabilitation was the same one who was kind enough to stop and help her after the car crash.
“I just couldn’t believe that she was the angel who took care of us,” she said. “Then to have her take care of me again at Quillen. The entire staff here is wonderful, but Laura is just a step above.”
As a nurse, Honeycutt said there was no question about stopping and helping at the scene of the accident. She added that it was her privilege to be able to help in Maupin’s recovery when she arrived at Quillen.
“I feel like God put me in that place at the right time to help her,” said Honeycutt of the car accident. “Then I was able to be there the day she discharged and walked out. It was amazing.”
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