A Cave City woman who was critically injured in a wreck over the weekend is showing signs of improvement, say family and friends of Brenda Shugart.

“She is making good progress,” said Shugart’s son, Jason Akers, of Louisville.

He said he agreed to fulfill his mother’s Christmas wish and promised to attend church services with her on Sunday at United Faith Independent on Park Avenue in Glasgow. The pair were returning from Louisville to Barren County in separate vehicles Saturday when, to Akers’ horror, he said he watched in his rearview mirror as his mother’s Jeep Cherokee spun out of control on Interstate 65, approximately three miles from the Cave City exit.

Shugart, 50, was following behind Akers when he hit his brakes after a black Mustang in front of him that suddenly braked, he said. When his mother attempted to brake, the top heavy SUV went “end over end and slid on its top,” before overturning several more times and ripping the driver’s side door off, Akers recalled.

By the time he reached Shugart, “she was laying halfway out of the vehicle choking on blood. I saw all that blood,” Akers continued, saying, he was “hysterical” after seeing the extent of his mother’s injuries.

“I had a choice to make,” he said. Fearing she was choking while still restrained, Akers said he reached around and unbuckled his mother’s seat belt.

“I held her until the paramedics got there,” he said.

Shugart, an employee of J.L. French in Glasgow, sustained multiple fractures to her skull and feet, two broken arms and several broken ribs, family members said. She experienced internal bleeding and swelling of the brain due to the extent of her injuries, according to Akers. Shugart has undergone two surgeries, including one to repair damage to her arms and hands, he said.

“She’s alert and oriented,” said Lorraine Dietrich, a friend of the family. Shugart, who was breathing just days ago only with aid of a breathing tube and respirator, is now breathing on her own, say family members.

Shugart’s niece, Shawna Akers, 13, was a passenger in the vehicle, but sustained only minor injuries.

She was kept overnight at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville for observation and released the following morning, Jason Akers said.

Family members are continuing to look for Shugart’s dog Mimi, an 8 pound gray and white Shih Tzu. They suspect the frightened animal may have escaped through a broken window in the vehicle.

“I’ve been from one end of the road to the other,” said Akers. “It’s like her third child. We hope somebody may have the dog and just not know who it belongs to.”

Family and friends are offering a $100 reward for the safe return of the animal. Anyone with information is asked to contact Jason Akers at (270) 678-4872 or (502) 408-5202.

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