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Richardton family says it’s a miracle they’re alive

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
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RICHARDTON, N.D. - Doctors didn’t expect Duane Sattler to survive a car crash last April on I-94. If he did live, they predicted he’d be paralyzed.

Duane was ejected from the pickup he was driving when he hit a patch of black ice near Richardton. His wife, Kim, and son, Shawn, were hurt, too.

But now, the good news: all three are on the road to recovery.

Kim and Shawn are almost back to 100% and Duane has proven the doctors wrong.

Duane and Kim Sattler
Duane and Kim Sattler(kfyr)

The family says it’s nothing short of a miracle.

Kim Sattler finds comfort in everyday chores.

“It’s something normal,” she said as she fed the chicken on her Richardton farm.

Three months ago, her life was anything but normal. Her husband, Duane, gets emotional just thinking about it.

“We didn’t get very far,” said Kim as she recalled the day of the crash.

Just a few miles from their Richardton home, Kim, Duane and their son Shawn were in a life-threatening crash.

“I was pinned in the pickup,” Kim remembered.

Duane and Shawn were thrown from the pickup.

“I could hear Duane moaning, but I didn’t know where Shawn was,” said Kim.

Then, the first miracle happened.

“I felt that God intervened,” said Duane.

Seventeen-year-old Anika Sayler came upon the accident.

“I didn’t even think twice about stopping,” the Dickinson teen said. “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

“She stayed with me,” Duane recalled.

Miracle number two: Kim’s injuries were minor.

“I came out of it pretty good,” she said.

Duane and Shawn were hurt much worse.

“Shawn had 18 broken ribs and his left elbow was shattered,” Kim explained.

Shawn was airlifted to Bismarck; Duane to Fargo.

“I had 11 fractures in my spine, two on my hangman’s vertebrate. They say if you break that it’s really bad,” Duane said. “My hip was dislocated and my jaw broken.”

Doctors didn’t expect Duane to live. But the miracles just kept coming. Duane is happy to be out of the hospital; his health continues to improve at home.

Last week, the community of Richardton held a benefit for the Sattlers.

“That support is just overwhelming,” said Kim.

Duane, Kim and Shawn had a chance to thank those who helped them while they healed; neighbors who worked cattle, fixed fences and planted and sprayed crops. The couple says their help and some timely rains are yet another miracle.

“For all three of us to survive that is, it is a miracle,” said Kim.

A series of miracles, that has left the Sattlers with a new appreciation for moments like these.

Shawn and Duane Sattler
Shawn and Duane Sattler(Kim Sattler)

“We need to enjoy life,” said Duane.

Duane has weekly doctor’s appointments in Dickinson and may have an additional surgery in the future.

He’s not able to do the farm and ranch work he’s used to doing, but hopes by taking time to heal now, he’ll be able to get back to work down the road.

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