PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) – CBS 11 News talked with the family of a Plano woman who was seriously injured in a airplane propeller accident.
Until the weekend, Lauren had been enjoying a life of modeling shoots and carving a career as a magazine editor… then the 23-year-old took a private plane ride.
The trip ended with a horrible accident that left Lauren disfigured and close to death.
Lauren's father, Jeff Scruggs, recalled seeing his daughter at the hospital.
"I asked her if she could hear me to squeeze my hand and she did," he said.
Lauren's parents say they are relying on their Christian faith for strength and will maintain a vigil at their daughter's hospital bedside.
Lauren's trip in the private plane began at Aero County Airport, just outside McKinney.
According to CBS 11 sources, the pilot had been hosting a party at his house, near the runway, and was taking guests on plane rides to look at holiday lights from the air.
FAA officials say Lauren had just gotten out of the plane when walked right into a moving propeller blade. She suffered a fractured skull, severe cuts and her left hand was amputated.
Family spokesperson Janee Harrell said Lauren might have seen the blade before it hit her.
"It appears she put up her hand to block her face, which is why it was severed."
While the woman's injures were very serious her condition has improved. "She's even responding more today. She's opening her eyes, moving around the bed… which is really moving around," said Harrell. "She's uncomfortable but it's a good thing."
The pilot who flew the 2011 Aviat Husky did not respond to interview requests.
The FAA issued a statement that said, in part, "We are still investigating and will interview the pilot and any other witnesses."
The Scruggs family believes the investigation will confirm that the accident was just that — an accident.
Lauren's mother, Cheryl Scruggs, said, "We know that Lauren will soar because of this. She was hit by a propeller but she will be propelled to do God's work and claim him in all that she does."
As a testament to Lauren's improving condition, doctors removed her breathing tube Monday and family members say the young woman is responsive and breathing on her own.
There is a chance Lauren's fractured skull could leave her blind in one eye, but her family expects she will recover from her other injuries.