Waitomo crash survivor 'closer to normal'

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 intersection.

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 recovery.

Just before the new year Ms Steinke wrote on her blog that she was now officially an outpatient and could live at her parents' home.

"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 months."

"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 collision.

The State Highway 3 intersection at Waitomo Caves was last year identified as one of New Zealand's riskiest roads to drive on.

Earlier last year, a Canadian woman died in the same spot, when her husband pulled out into traffic.

- Hana Garrett-Walker of APNZ

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