‘Chance of survival is very high’ for 14-year-girl in Peterborough car crash that killed her parents and brother

Family member says doctors at SickKids in Toronto are 'working diligently to repair the internal injuries that she has received'

Rowghan Hart (second from left) in an undated photo with her father Jonathan MacDonnell, brother Riddick Hart, and mother Stephanie Hart. Rowghan survived the head-on collision that killed her parents and brother on Highway 7 east of Peterborough on November 22, 2022. The driver of the other vehicle, Jason Schmidt of Hastings, also died in the crash. (Photo: GoFundMe)
Rowghan Hart (second from left) in an undated photo with her father Jonathan MacDonnell, brother Riddick Hart, and mother Stephanie Hart. Rowghan survived the head-on collision that killed her parents and brother on Highway 7 east of Peterborough on November 22, 2022. The driver of the other vehicle, Jason Schmidt of Hastings, also died in the crash. (Photo: GoFundMe)

Rowghan Hart, the 14-year-old girl who survived a head-on collision that killed her parents and brother on Tuesday (November 22), is likely to survive according to family.

“Today the doctors reassured us that Rowghan’s chance of survival is very high,” wrote relative Tanya Hart in a update Thursday on a GoFundMe campaign she organized to support the family, which has raised more than $60,000 so far. “They also believe that she has not sustained any brain or heart injuries.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Rowghan and her father 46-year-old Jonathan MacDonnell, mother 52-year-old Stephanie Hart, and brother 18-year-old Riddick Hart — who called themselves the “MacHart” family — were travelling on Highway 7 just east of Peterborough when their SUV collided head-on with a pickup truck driven by 42-year-old Jason Schmidt of Hastings.

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Police have not released any information as to the cause of the deadly crash.

Rowghan, the sole survivor, was airlifted to SickKids Hospital in Toronto in critical condition.

According to Tanya, Rowghan suffered “life-altering injuries.” She has already had two surgeries and her grandparents are with her.

“The amazing team at SickKids has been working diligently to repair the internal injuries that she has received,” Tanya writes.

A second GoFundMe campaign created by relative Kathryn Wilson has raised over $6,160 to date. Both GoFundMe campaigns are raising money for the funerals of the family as well as costs for the grandparents and presumably costs related to Rowghan’s recovery.

According to Wilson, Rowghan’s first surgery was for a fracture in her back.

“She stirred yesterday and was able to nod her head when asked a question by medical staff,” Wilson wrote on GoFundMe on Friday. “The hope for today is to remove her breathing tube and lesson her sedation as she has been heavily sedated since she arrived.”

While Wilson says “this is a huge step forward,” she asks people to “please send her extra prayers as today the family will have to explain what has happened.”

Rowghan is a student at Thomas A. Secondary School, as was her brother Riddick. Their mother Stephanie was an educational assistant at the school.

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On Saturday, Tanya Hart posted on an update on her GoFundMe page that Rowghan’s breathing tube was removed.

“With her grandparents by her side, the amazing team of doctors, nurses, social workers and child trauma specialists had the difficult task of speaking with Rowghan about some of her new realities,” Tanya wrote.

“Rowghan was able to communicate with us through head nods, smiles, frowns and tears. She was awake with us for about an hour, and it was amazing and heart warming.”

Tanya said her injuries “are forever going to change Rowghan’s way of life” and her recovery “is going to be long and difficult.”

“She will need the support of family, friends, and her communities to get through this. On top of the physical injuries, she is going to have to cope with losing her parents and brother that she was so close with.”

Tanya added that Rowghan will be in the ICU on Monday (November 28) — her 14th birthday — but staff at SickKids “plan on making it special for her.”

Those who want to show their support for Rowghan can email letters, pictures, and short videos to letterstorowghan@gmail.com that “will be shared with Rowghan when she is ready.”

“We understand that many of you want to send cards and gifts but until she is moved out of the ICU we will have to wait,” Tanya said.


 

This story has been updated with the latest information from the Hart family