For the first time since his wife and three children were seriously injured in a head-on collision on Highway 52, Coach Will Cunningham is speaking out. He sat down with NBC 7's Brandi Powell today, and she has more on their recovery and heartfelt message the San Diego community.
Cathedral Catholic High School (CCHS) coach Will Cunningham took some time Sunday to express his gratitude to the San Diego community for rallying around his family after a deadly crash that left his wife and three daughters seriously injured.
For the first time since the March 17 crash, Cunningham addressed the community at the Cathedral Catholic High School Theater on Father’s Day.
With his daughters, wife and son by his side, the coach said he was extremely grateful for the community’s support, prayers and donations during these difficult past three months.
On the night of St. Patrick’s Day, a suspected drunk driver traveling the wrong way on State Route 52 slammed his car head-on into the Cunningham’s family minivan.
The minivan was occupied by the coach’s wife, Alisa Cunningham, and the couple’s three daughters, Jayden, Logan and Taylor Cunningham.
Mrs. Cunningham and her girls were all transported to local hospitals with multiple serious injuries.
Nine days after the crash, Jayden and Logan were released from Rady Children’s Hospital, while Taylor and Mrs. Cunningham remained hospitalized.
Taylor was in a coma for 17 days and spent a total of 75 days in the hospital. She was recently released and with the whole family now back home, they continue to recover.
The wrong-way driver, Santee resident Matthew T. Leonardo, 30, was killed in the crash.
On Sunday, Coach Cunningham gave an update on the conditions of Mrs. Cunningham, Logan, Jayden and Taylor.
The coach said his wife suffered broken ribs, a traumatic brain injury, a partially severed foot, smashed left hand and bruises. Logan, their youngest daughter, suffered lung damage, a fractured coccyx, deep lacerations and a concussion.
Cunningham said Jayden sustained a fractured neck, fractured scapula, deep lacerations and a concussion. Taylor suffered a two broken wrists, a fractured pelvis, a broken right hip and a traumatic brain injury, keeping her hospitalized for more than two months.
“We are now in the process of trying to heal, physically and mentally. The process, we’re told, will take some time,” said Cunningham on Sunday. “The girls have all begun to rehab in an effort to get back to where they were before.”
“Spiritually we know that it’s only by the grace of God that my wife and daughters made it through the accident,” he continued.
The coach said his family still has tough days ahead, but he knows they can overcome anything with faith and the constant love and support they’ve been receiving.
“Our new journey is just beginning, and we could appreciate any and all continued support as we strive to heal as a whole and move forward as a family,” he said.
No matter the difficult days ahead, Cunningham said he’s thankful to have any and all time with his family.
“It’s a blessing to have those days. Whatever the trial, the adversity – I’m looking forward to those days, because I have them,” he added.
“We are blessed, we’re very blessed,” said Mrs. Cunningham.
The mother also said she’s proud of how her children have adapted to their situation and how they continue to be strong.
Immediately after the crash, the CCHS and San Diego communities rallied around the family. On Mar. 19, CCHS students, parents and teachers united for a special mass dedicated to the Cunningham family.
Since the crash, CCHS director of communications Kimberly King has been issuing updates on the family’s recovery through the school website.
Friends and loved ones have also been posting updates about the family online and collecting donations for a Cunningham family fund that has helped them get through these difficult few months.
Those who wish to donate to the family can also do so at any San Diego County Credit Union branch by writing a check payable to the "Cunningham Family Accident Fund” or by visiting this website.