English teacher injured in September wreck: ‘I miss my kids’

Brittany Sanchez — formerly Mrs. O’Sullivan — is recovering from bad-weather accident

Ashley Guel, Panther Growls staff member

Lufkin High School English teacher Brittany Sanchez, who suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident in early September, said she’s anxious to get back to class.

Lufkin High School English teacher Brittany Sanchez, right, and her husband Robert smile for a photo. Both were injured in an automobile accident in September. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Sanchez)

“I miss my kids,” she said. “I miss teaching them and watching them become college-ready writers.”

Soon after the start of the school year, Sanchez — known as Mrs. O’Sullivan before she married Robert Sanchez during the summer — took a trip with her husband to Kyle, south of Austin to visit her newborn niece. On their way back home, the weather was not in their favor.

“I hit a slick spot and started hydroplaning and fishtailing,” Sanchez said.

Their vehicle slid into oncoming traffic. When Sanchez tried to correct her steering to avoid other vehicles, their vehicle hit a ditch and went airborne. On its way back down, the car hit a barbed wire fence in a field.  

Robert Sanchez suffered from two cracked ribs and chest wall contusions but has recovered well, his wife said. She has been going to follow-up visits for the emergency surgery she had to repair a broken vertebra.

If I had been 20 years older, or if the doctors had waited a couple more hours, they say I would have been a paraplegic for the rest of my life,” she said.

Although physical therapy is in her future, Sanchez said there is a slight hope it will not be needed.

“It’s crazy how life has thrown us the ‘in sickness and in health’ test so early in our marriage,” she said.

Click on this screenshot to see the GoFundMe page that has been set up for the Sanchez family.

Sanchez, who answered questions in an email interview, said she is now wearing a “clam shell” neck brace and using a walker that will have her looking “very stylish ;).”

Sanchez was beginning her sixth year of teaching, including her fourth at LHS. She said she wanted to thank the LHS English Department for their help making the entire process easier. She said Mrs. Segura started a meal train for the Sanchez family and that the entire English Department contributed a sizable donation to help offset medical costs.

When asked what message she wanted to send her students, Sanchez said, “I want everyone, no matter their age, to show kindness and empathy more. It shouldn’t take a tragedy for us to be a community and take care of one another. … I know I can be a tough teacher, but their love shows me that I am doing right by them.”

Although she was not planning on telling her students how much she missed them until she returned to school, she figured she would not wait any longer to tell them how much she loved them, and to “keep persevering and pushing.”

“Every individual has the ability to be a good person on the most average days,” she said.

Sanchez’s sister has set up a GoFund Me page for anyone wishing to help the family.