Dakotah Winsor’s little dog perished along a lonely stretch of highway between Casper and Shoshoni in late February and the 20-year-old is struggling with that loss while her family and friends are thankful Dakotah is alive and able to walk after sustaining a neck injury that doctors in Denver say was “100 percent fatal.” The lead surgeon, in fact, told the Winsor family he’d only seen that specific injury in autopsy rooms.
The Kaycee, Wyoming cowgirl was driving back to school at Central Wyoming College in Riverton from a barrel racing event in Wright when her rig jackknifed on a patch of black ice and was blasted into a ball of fire by a propane truck. Passersby pulled Dakotah from the wreckage believing she had not survived. Paramedics and firefighters arrived and did their jobs prior to a flight-for-life to Casper. The truck driver wasn’t hurt.
Dakotah’s parents knew their responsible daughter would call or text immediately upon arriving in Riverton but when she didn’t mom Kelly Winsor’s instincts screamed that something was terribly wrong. They eventually spoke with a state trooper friend in Kaycee and he confirmed the young woman was seriously injured and had been flown to Casper where it was quickly determined another flight was in order this time UCHealth’s Trauma Center in Denver.
The Winsor family was with Dakotah through it all and Kelly spoke about the ordeal after returning to Kaycee this week. She allowed our usage of photos that have chronicled her daughter’s miraculous recovery since the flight to Denver. She is now in a rehab program in Casper.
Dakotah plans to rejoin the Central Wyoming College nursing program and Rustler rodeo team next fall running barrels, tying goats and may be adding breakaway roping to her repertoire. She is rooted deeply in her Christian faith and the entire family is overwhelmed by all who’ve offered helping hands and financial support since the accident which thanks to a 1998 steel Titan trailer left Dakotah’s horse uninjured.