Son says Fairview woman has shown
what fortitude and forgiveness is like
By Kristi Shields
FAIRVIEW—The Fairview community welcomed Claudia Fossum home after nearly nine months in the hospital as a result of a life threatening car accident with her husband, Eric Fossum, on Oct. 11, 2019.
The couple’s son, Martin Baron, posted a video on Facebook June 10 showing the community’s love for them with signs and balloons.
The Facebook post reads: “After nine months in hospital, after being hit by a drunk driver and numerous operations, Mom leaves to return home. An absolute humongous achievement! Well done Mom, you have shown us what fortitude and forgiveness looks like.”
The family feels the same way they felt directly after the accident—compassion for the 26-year-old driver, Armando Tinoco, who has pleaded guilty to third-degree DUI felony charges and is awaiting sentencing on Sept. 28.
“We wish and hope that Armando will get straightened out,” Eric said. “I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I hope that the justice system will help him, as it should.”
Cathrina Wray, daughter of Claudia and Eric, said it would be a waste of anger to hold a grudge, and she said she has no room for that feeling.
“Holding onto a grudge and anger is like you’re just drinking the poison yourself,” Wray added.
The life changing accident has also brought the family closer together as they have been taking care of their parents.
“It’s amazing the difference in the feeling here in the house,” Eric said. She has gone through various periods — as I have — of hope and anguish. Right now, things are at an all-time high, I would say.”
Wray said she initially saw a heaviness in Eric, but when he was able to go home, build his strength and get back to what he loved doing — working in his yard — she saw a change in him, for the better.
As for Claudia, Wray said the accident was a “game changer.” She went from being a highly functional, active person to experiencing her worst nightmare. Claudia was not herself when she was in the hospital; she was full of doubt and sadness; however, being home has helped the healing process.
Eric said Claudia is back to eating real food, and loving it. She is healing more rapidly than before.
Wray said, “I feel like I knew from the beginning that she was just going to be okay, she was going to recover and I believe that even now more than ever.”
Eric said it was overwhelming to see the community welcoming them home.
“There were a lot of tears,” Eric said. “We were amazed and gratified that so many people have been supporting us for the last nine months.”
Claudia said she thanks the community for the kindness, love and support.
“We thank [them] for their own thoughts, prayers and well wishes of love,” Claudia said. “It meant a great deal to us.”
Tinoco was charged with two third-degree felony accounts of driving under the influence of alcohol, which he plead guilty to March 11. He was originally charged with an additional class B Misdemeanor for carrying a dangerous weapon in his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, but the charge was dropped March 11.
Due to the COVID pandemic, his sentencing date has been pushed back to September 28.