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'Hitting milestones' | Wife of firefighter killed in NC-61 crash recovering in hospital

Tonya Murrell, wife of firefighter Rick Murrell, is doing really well, according to her family. She is close to leaving the ICU.

GIBSONVILLE, N.C. — Greensboro firefighter Rick Murrell, as well as two passengers in Alexio Lattero's car, 26-year-old Anna Lattero and 15-year-old Sarah Martin, died from their injuries. 

Murrell's wife Tonya Murrell, was in critical, but stable condition at a hospital.

She was able to get out of bed Monday and is trying to speak, but isn't easily understood. Her family understands when she says, "I love you." 

She also started physical and speech therapy and she may be able to move to a step-down unit soon. 

On Thursday, Murrell's family said she was doing really well and hitting milestones in her therapies as expected. She's getting closer to moving out of the ICU. 

Her family said she is making her idiomatic facial expressions and even cracking quit-witted jokes. Her kids have filled her in on some ways the community has come together to support them all. 

Many people are wondering if Tonya Murrell knows about her husband Rick Murrell. She knows without one hint of doubt. She knows that in one moment she and Rick were headed to the afternoon birthday celebration of a sweet friend.  

A close friend of Murrell has shared updates of her recovery for the community to keep up with as well. 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol said 16-year-old Alexio Lattero lost control of his Dodge Charger, crossed the center lane, and hit a car. 

Communities are coming together to show support for the family members who are grieving.

The scene where the crash happened, is now a memorial to those lost.

Credit: Amber Lake

Community members are doing more to support these families.

Many businesses in the town of Gibsonville came together to start a fund for the Lattero family.

State Farm agent, Jessica Summers, said since the account was started Tuesday, there have been lots of donations already to support the family.

“We are all saddened by what’s going on. We have a deep love for Reno's and deep love for the Lattero Family and for everyone involved,” Summers said.

Summers said to donate, you can head to any Fidelity Bank and let them know you are donating to the Lattero Family Fund. 

She said, “That’s just something we firmly believe in this community, taking care of each other," Summers said. “They are great folks and we pray for them vigilantly during this time.”

Other businesses, like Bombshell Salon and Spa, are holding raffles to donate money to help the family.

“We would always go to lunch there and dinner. They were all very sweet and they are always looking to help other people in ways they can,” said Bombshell Salon owner, Amber Bailey. 

The salon will be giving away a basket of goodies to someone who enters the raffle. The basket includes a gift card, a free facial, and lots of hair and skin care products.

Jillian Andrews, a stylist at the salon said, “This really is a close-knit community, so as you can tell, everyone wants to help out and pitch in."

Sarah Martin's family is asking for any donations to be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The City of Greensboro Fire Department shared how folks can support Rick Murrell's family in a Facebook post. 

There aren’t enough words to speak to the impact that Rick Murrell has left on anyone who knew him. As he is...

Posted by City of Greensboro Fire Department on Monday, July 11, 2022

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