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Arrest warrant issued for woman after crash that blinded Coon Rapids student

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An arrest warrant has been issued for a Fergus Falls woman accused of driving drunk when she was involved in a wrong-way crash that permanently blinded a Coon Rapids man.

The Fargo Forum reports that Jana Elisa Battern, 43, was allegedly found slumped over the wheel of her Lincoln Town Car after the crash on I-94 near Fergus Falls on March 16, and is said to have been overheard by police saying: "I have a drinking problem and this is all my fault."

She is accused of driving the wrong way down the interstate, which led to a collision with a Honda Civic driven by 23-year-old North Dakota State University student Elias Youngblom, who suffered a lacerated liver, broken forearm and complex fractures of his facial bones that have left him permanently blind.

The Fergus Falls Journal reports that the crash, which occurred at around 2:15 p.m. on March 16, sent Youngblom's car 50-75 yards into a ditch to the right of the road, while Battern's car ended up partially in the median.

The newspaper added that Battern was treated in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries after the crash.

Elias Youngblom's road to recovery

A CaringBridge page set up for Youngblom, who lives in Coon Rapid, highlights the tremendous challenge facing him as he recovers from his injuries.

The most recent journal update said he is now able to move his left arm and hand, and that he has taken his first steps in physical therapy at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, almost two months after the incident.

His family will celebrate his 24th birthday in the hospital on Sunday.

"We have some challenges ahead but also so much to be thankful for – including that our boy has survived something horrific to greet his birthday and the prospect of another year with good will, humor, strength and sheer appreciation for all the small blessings of life," the blog posting said.

You can read more about Elias Youngblom and donate via CaringBridge here.

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