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DUI crash survivor reunites with childhood nurse

Posted: 12:28 PM, Feb 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-11 14:28:58-05
Crash survivor and nurse reunite in Tucson.

TUCSON, Ariz. — If you've ever been in a serious car crash or suffered a medical emergency, you know the doctors and nurses who help you on the road to recovery can leave a lasting impression.

If anyone knows that feeling it's Tucson woman Valerie Savedra.

During the holidays KGUN9 published a profile of Valerie as part of an Operation Safe Roads report . When Valerie was a child she was involved in a horrific car crash with a drunk driver that left her with permanent disabilities and killed her cousin.

Now as an adult Valerie is a volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving . Recently Valerie reached out to KGUN9 to tell us she had reconnected with a nurse who helped her through some of her toughest years. Her name is Judy Knapp, but Valerie will always call her "Nurse Judy."

"When I saw her name and everything in the paper and that she volunteered with MADD -- I thought I've got to get ahold of her," Judy said. "That's Valerie Savedra."

Valerie met Judy when she was a 9-year-old girl. Judy was a nurse for an orthopedic surgeon in Tucson and would see Valerie every month for years. As a nurse for more than 50 years, Judy has seen the devastating impacts of drinking and driving.

"These types of crashes -- I mean they can destroy a family. Parents don't get over it when they lose a child, which I could never imagine losing a child," Judy said. "And Valerie's mom going through what she did -- as a mom to watch her little girl go through this agony. I mean it's just tremendous."

To this day Valerie is still dealing with the physical and mental effects of the crash, and is thankful to once again see the kind woman who comforted her so many years ago.

"People like her are amazing," Valerie said. "We need more people like this."