MARYSVILLE — When Sarah Blomquist didn’t return from her lunch break June 30, her mother received a call from her workplace.
Robyn Blomquist had access to her daughter’s cell phone location. She checked to see where the 22-year-old was.
It showed she was at the hospital.
That afternoon Sarah Blomquist had been in a serious car crash near Highway 9 in Marysville. She sustained life-threatening injuries, and has been unconscious since the collision, her brother Kevin Birch said.
The 49-year-old Arlington man who struck her has been arrested for investigation of vehicular assault and driving under the influence. He’s accused of having used heroin before the crash, and remains in the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $100,000.
Blomquist, of Lake Stevens, had been working as a bank teller at the time of the crash. She was studying to become an elementary school teacher, and she loves to hike. Her faith in God has been a big part of her life. She was set to get married later this month, on July 25, in Birch’s backyard.
After the crash, Blomquist was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett with a broken neck and severe head injuries. In the first 28 hours she underwent three surgeries — one to remove part of her skull, and then to fuse multiple vertebrae in her neck to protect her spinal cord.
Now there’s a lot of uncertainty.
“From what the doctors are saying, just the nature of the brain trauma like that, we don’t know who she’s going to be, if she even wakes up,” Birch said. “They said her personality will for sure be different, and that it will evolve over two years, if things are stable again.”
Birch, 27, has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with Blomquist’s medical bills and whatever care she may need. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had raised almost $23,000 of the $50,000 goal.
So far, Blomquist has shown some positive signs. She responds to pinches, and has fluttered her eyes open and squeezed her mother’s hand. At first she was on sedative medication, but has since been taken off.
When Blomquist was born in December 1997, the family lived in Arlington. Nine years later they moved to a different state, and in 2012 returned to Lake Stevens. Blomquist and Birch have two other siblings.
Birch remembers his sister as being an incredibly tough child.
“Physically strong and mentally strong,” he said. “So as a child she was getting into everything, she was doing all kinds of crazy stuff. She loved going outside and tearing into the woods, and she’s huge into hiking. That’s like her favorite thing to do.”
One of her favorite places to explore is Deception Pass, or anywhere near water, he said.
Blomquist graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 2016. After, she went on an 18-month-long mission trip to Barbados, with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Birch believes she found her passion for education during the trip, as she taught children English.
She was enrolled at Brigham Young University Idaho, and about two years away from earning her degree when the coronavirus shut down schools.
Blomquist was fitted for her wedding dress just a few days before the crash, on Saturday. Her bridal shower was also that day.
Around 1 p.m. June 30, Blomquist reportedly was waiting to turn left at a stop light onto Highway 9, to head back to work. Her white Toyota Corolla was struck in the 8700 block of 64th Street NE.
Her car crashed into two more vehicles, then spun and hit another, according to police reports. She reportedly was slumped over the center console and trapped when first responders arrived.
The driver was in a gray Porsche Cayenne. After he was arrested, police found a plastic baggie with a tar-like substance. Tests later indicated it was heroin.
He has been convicted of DUI twice, in 1990 and 2008.
Blomquist’s mother arrived at the hospital about an hour after the crash. She was allowed to see her daughter briefly before her first 12-hour surgery, where Blomquist’s long blonde hair was shaved.
Robyn Blomquist has been the only person allowed to stay with her, because of COVID-19. She’s been there all day every day since the crash.
“They told us if it would have been a week prior, the restrictions were so strict she wouldn’t have even been able to see her,” Birch said.
She’s been calling the family so they can talk to Sarah Blomquist through the phone.
Blomquist has always had a hopeful outlook on life, Birch said.
“Just overall she was super positive, very optimistic about the future,” he said. “Even when she faced life adversity, she just always felt like tomorrow would be a good day.”
How to help
Donate to help cover Sarah Blomquist’s medical care, at www.GoFundMe.com/Sarah-Blomquist-recovery-fund.
Her brother Kevin Birch plans to post updates on that page.