A 6-year-old girl was recovering Tuesday at Children's Memorial Hospital with three fractures in her skull and several broken vertebrae after a tree fell on her during wicked weather a day earlier.
"My first thought was like, 'Oh, my God. Is she OK? How did this happen?'" recalled 11-year-old Christian Tingle about the moment he saw the neighbor's giant tree collapse on top of his younger sister, Lexy.
The boy and his four younger siblings had gone out to the backyard of their Winnetka home Monday morning to save the outdoor cushions from getting rain-soaked when 75 mph winds blew the tree down.
"All the sudden, I heard a groan and then some crashes," Christian Tingle said. "Then I heard my sister screaming."
Lexy Tingle was knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital but was alert when she spoke with her grandmother on the phone hours after the incident.
"I said, 'Did you know the tree was falling?' And she said, 'No, it happened too quickly," said the grandmother, Barbara Tingle.
She said Lexy even called her grandmother by her nickname, Shoogie.
Another sister, Abigail, was also struck by the tree but was less-seriously hurt with a mild concussion.
Doctors at Children's Memorial Hospital said Lexy Tingle's skull fracture should heal quickly. The time frame on her broken vertebrae is in the six week range. In the meantime, she'll have to wear a brace.
Christian Tingle predicted his sister, a tough, resilient girl who's already a star in soccer and hockey, will heal faster than the doctors say.
"Lexy's the toughest little 6-year-old I've ever met," he said.