Riverwoods girl, 11, recovering from Spain train crash - FOX 32 News Chicago

Riverwoods girl, 11, recovering from Spain train crash

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Lucia Ruiz Dominguez Lucia Ruiz Dominguez
Maria Ruiz Dominguez Maria Ruiz Dominguez
RIVERWOODS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An 11-year-old north suburban girl injured when a Spanish commuter train derailed last month will be transferred to a Madrid hospital, while her sister returns to start school this month, Pioneer Press is reporting.

Both students, who attended South Park School in Deerfield last year, are expected to recover from injuries suffered in the horrific accident that killed 79 people and left dozens seriously injured.

"It's a small world, but it's still a shock when something that happens so far away comes all the way back to Deerfield," said Brian Bullis, principal at Caruso Middle School in Deerfield, where Lucia Ruiz Dominguez would have been starting school this month.

"Even though it's horrific, we're thankful that it's not any worse."

Neighbors of Lucia and her 8-year-old sister Maria, and officials of Deerfield Public Schools District 109 have rallied to support the Riverwoods family. They've raised almost $41,000 to help pay medical expenses for Lucia, who suffered a cranial fracture, broken legs and serious injuries to her hip, pelvis and tailbone.

The Ruiz Dominguez family, which emigrated from Spain, was visiting relatives when the girls traveled by train with an aunt and uncle to northeast Spain. The driver of the train has been charged with 79 counts of reckless homicide.

Neighbors and friends of the family launched a fundraising campaign on GiveForward.com that, as of 4 p.m. Monday, had raised nearly $57,000 to defray the family's overseas medical expenses.

Nina Boorstein, 51, who lives across the street from the family, said they were securing arrangements to move Lucia to a larger hospital in Madrid.

Prior to the transfer, she was treated in a hospital near Santiago de Compostela, where she was traveling with her sister, aunt and uncle, according to Dawn Pye of Riverwoods, a member of the group raising funds for the family.

Lucia underwent surgery on her leg and her knee, Pye said. Maria was one of few people on the train to suffer no physical injuries, she said.

Nonetheless, Maria "has seen and experienced things that we all would hope no person, let alone a child, should ever see," according to the website raising funds for the family. "She was buried under suitcases, which likely saved her from injury or worse."

The girls' aunt and uncle also suffered numerous injuries and remained in intensive care as of Monday, Pye said.

"At this point, it is unknown when Lucia and her parents will be able to return to the United Sates due to the severity of Lucia's injuries," the website said. "Recovery will be lengthy and medical bills will stack up. In order to help the family with these expenses as well as unforeseen travel expenses due to the tragedy, we have set up this web page where donations can be made."

Maria, who is entering third grade, is expected to return soon and begin school on Aug. 21, said David Sherman, principal at South Park.

"When Maria returns to school at South Park, we're ready to help her through whatever she needs," Sherman said. "Everybody is ready and excited to have her come back to school."

Lucia is not expected to return for the start of school at Caruso, he said. "My understanding is that she will still probably be in a hospital in Spain," Sherman said.

Lucia, who attended South Park from kindergarten through fifth grade, is a "super nice girl," he said. "She was a pleasure to have here at school. We're all sad that she was injured. The other side of that is that we all know she'll eventually be OK. We're all praying for her."

If you would like to make a donation, visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/8dt2/ruizfamilyfundraiser.

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