Former Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte critically injured after being hit by vehicle in Florida


Former Texas lawmaker Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio was seriously injured on Sunday when a vehicle hit her as she was crossing an intersection in Orlando, Florida.

Van de Putte, 67, a well-known Democrat who served 24 years in the Legislative Assembly, was crossing the intersection when she was hit by a left-turning driver, said Pete Van de Putte, her now-husband. nearly 45 years old.

The impact threw her 10 to 15 feet into the air, according to what her husband overheard from an officer investigating the crash.

She never lost consciousness, but suffered serious injuries, including fractures to her pelvic region, two broken ribs, compressed vertebrae in her lower back, a subdural hematoma of the brain, and lacerations to her arms and legs, her husband said. None of his internal organs were punctured and his hips were not broken, he added. She is in stable condition.

“It was shocking,” Pete Van de Putte said in a phone interview late Monday night. “It’s just a tough thing to get through.”

He reported that his wife was in severe pain but remained in good spirits at an HCA Florida hospital in Kissimmee, south of Orlando. “She seems to be doing pretty well,” he said.

“Pretty high”

The accident happened around 2pm on Sunday as the couple left their hotel to buy essential items from shops. They had just left for a cruise that ended on Saturday and docked in Orlando, but their flight back to San Antonio was canceled.

Leticia Van de Putte managed to secure a ticket for a return flight on Monday, while her husband booked a seat on a flight the following day. In the meantime, they decided to enjoy some time in Orlando.

On Sunday morning, several hours before the accident, Leticia went to mass and bought a rosary from the church gift shop.

“She really believes that’s what saved her,” her husband said of the purchase.

Pete Van de Putte said he did not see the crash as he and his wife briefly parted ways to go to separate stores. Despite her injuries, Leticia was able to speak and gave a passerby her husband’s cell phone number.

“They called me and told me what happened, and I ran out and arrived around the same time as the ambulance,” Pete said. “It was a shock because she was pretty stoned. You just don’t expect these things to happen.

The couple briefly held hands until paramedics arrived. Her husband accompanied her in the ambulance to the hospital.

The driver who hit Leticia immediately stopped and tried to help her.

“The driver was wonderful,” said Pete Van de Putte. “He held her hand and stayed with her the whole time. And I stayed and talked to the police and everything. It was, I think, as much of a shock (for him).

“Obviously he was in the middle of the bend and looked down … and when he looked up she was right there. And he hit her.

The driver told Leticia that story while helping her, “and that’s what I think he told the police,” said Pete Van de Putte, who said he didn’t speak to the driver himself. -same.

“She’s a fighter”

The family is optimistic, especially as Leticia has gone through the critical first 24 hours. “She’s definitely doing better, I think, than we expected,” her husband said.

Once she is discharged from the hospital, her children will drive her home to San Antonio, where she will undergo extensive physical and occupational therapy.

“She’s a tough woman. She will be fine,” her husband said. “Her spirits are good… She’s a fighter.”

Leticia Van de Putte served as the state representative for District 115 of Texas from 1991 to 1999. She later served as a state senator representing District 26 from 1999 to March 2015.

In 2014, she ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor against her Senate colleague, Dan Patrick.

The following year, she resigned from the Senate to run for mayor of San Antonio, a race she narrowly lost to Ivy Taylor.

Van de Putte graduated in 1973 from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy in 1979 and worked for her grandfather’s pharmacy before starting her own.

In 2008, she served as co-chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

[email protected] | Twitter: Peggy_OHare

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