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Margie Johns, 84, of St. Paul, is on a ventilator and in an induced coma. Her son, 62-year-old Ken Gunter of Roseville, was sedated and also on a ventilator. And Johns’ daughter Joanne Mancha, 59, of West St. Paul, was hoping that she wouldn’t lose her legs after both knees, one ankle, and one femur bone were broken.

MAX WIDTH FOR PRINT: 3.75 INCHES -- Margie Johns of St. Paul, left, Joanne Mancha of West St. Paul, and Ken Gunter of Roseville were headed to Washington state Monday, May 7, 2018 when a tire on their car blew out near Butte, Montana. Johns is the mother of Mancha and Gunter. The car flipped over and each person sustained severe injuries. As of Friday afternoon, all three were still in critical condition. (Courtesy of Julia Mancha).
Margie Johns of St. Paul, left, Joanne Mancha of West St. Paul, and Ken Gunter of Roseville (Courtesy of Julia Mancha).

“It’s amazing they are here, considering what they went through,” Mancha’s daughter Julia Mancha said.

Johns, Gunter and Joanne Mancha were road-tripping from Minnesota to Washington to visit Johns’ ex-husband and Gunter and Mancha’s father. They regularly make the trip to check in on him since his health has declined and he receives in-home care.

Gunter was driving on Interstate 90 near Whitehall, Montana, around 10:45 a.m. Monday when the tire on their Ford Explorer SUV blew. They lost control, veered to the side of the road, and the vehicle flipped multiple times.

Mancha was thrown from the vehicle. In addition to several broken bones in her legs, she also sustained a large cut on the back of her head. Bruises covered her body.

Gunter, who remained in the vehicle, suffered a broken neck and ribs and a punctured lung. He has been in and out of consciousness since the accident.

Johns broke her arm, fractured her neck and some ribs, and suffered internal bleeding. Though she hasn’t woken since the accident, her family is hopeful.

“She is probably the youngest old person you could ever meet,” Julia Mancha said. “She takes care of herself.”


The dog in the SUV was also thrown from the vehicle but suffered no severe injuries.

All three family members are at different hospitals in Montana.

In the days since, the community has rallied to help as family flew out to the different hospitals.

Joanne Mancha’s friend Kris Johnson is making plans for a benefit to help cover medical and travel expenses for the family.

“My mom’s very active in the community. … You can always go to her,” Julia Mancha said. “She’s somebody who will go above and beyond, always throwing benefits for other people. So it’s crazy that now we have to do a benefit for her.”