Waitomo crash survivor Kirsten Steinke has been able to
welcome in the new year at her parent's home in Colorado,
three months after a collision claimed the life of her
newlywed husband and left her fighting for her life.
The pair were on their honeymoon in New Zealand in September
when their vehicle collided with a cement truck at a Waitomo
Kallan Stithem died at the scene, and Ms Steinke spent a
month at Waikato Hospital recovering enough from her severe
head injuries to go home to Colorado to continue her
Just before the new year Ms Steinke wrote on her blog that
she was now officially an outpatient and could live at her
"I might be the first 28-year-old this excited about living
with my parents," she wrote.
She was now walking everywhere, and had been "inching" her
way back to being able to do yoga and pilates.
"As far as how I'm doing emotionally, I continue to feel
immensely indebted to my family members and friends who have
given so much to me and my parents during the past few
"I lost the love of my life. But I'm lucky to still have this
much love in my life. And that gratitude helps me get closer
and closer to normal."
She credited that love as the reason she was able to be
sitting in her parent's home, sipping a cup of coffee.
Earlier in the month she wrote that she was having the
hardest time processing the loss of her husband.
"I keep having dreams that he is here with me, reminding me
to follow up on my exercises to get better and chatting with
me about what's going on in his world.
"It could just be the impact that he made in my life coming
through, but I like to imagine that he's doing just what he
would have done in life - keeping me company and making sure
I follow up on all the things I need to do to get better."
Police said Mr Stithem failed to give way at the
intersection, and for more than a month after the crash Ms
Steinke was unaware that her husband had died in the
The State Highway 3 intersection at Waitomo Caves was last
year identified as one of New Zealand's riskiest roads to
Earlier last year, a Canadian woman died in the same spot,
when her husband pulled out into traffic.
- Hana Garrett-Walker of APNZ