Former model Lauren Scruggs has revealed for the first time what actually happened in the horrific accident that robbed her of left arm and eye, and changed her life in an instant.
Lauren Scruggs, 24, from Dallas, Texas, spoke on Today show about the December 3 accident, where she walked into a still-spinning plane propeller, in the lead up to a Dateline interview that airs Friday November 16 at 10:00 p.m.
With little memory of the accident, Lauren Scruggs explained: “My dad actually went to look at the plane. I was always taught to get out in front of the wing, but when you do that [with this kind of plane] you’re basically on the propeller. So I think I basically just got out onto it.”
She added: “I remember getting into the plane, and I was fearful for some reason. We landed, which I thought was interesting, because I thought we might crash. I remember my feet touching the ground, but that’s all I remember.”
Her mother, who was also on the Today show with her husband, Lauren Scruggs’ father, explained how the pair had been to church, before going over to some friends’ for dinner, “like we always do”.
“They live in an airport so we ate dinner, and then they decided they were going to do some recreational flying, look at some Christmas lights and everything,” she said.
“Then, she was out there laying on her stomach in a pool of blood and I wasn’t really sure if she was dead or alive.”
Speaking about the bleak diagnosis given by the paramedics at the time, her father said: “They warned us there was a potential she wouldn’t have the same personality, that she may never form a sentence again, but as you can see today, that’s the case.”
Lauren Scruggs admits the hardest thing about the accident was losing her hand.
“It changes your life,” she said.
“You appreciate life a lot more, my compassion for people has strengthened, I have compassion I couldn’t have had before. It was a dose of reality, and was hard to see.”
Speaking about living life with only one hand, the fashion blogger and former model said: “It’s amazing how your body just does what it needs to do – things that were hard in the beginning a lot easier now. I don’t really think about them now.”
Lauren Scruggs has revealed for the first time what actually happened in the horrific accident that robbed her of left arm and eye
The blonde beauty is also honest in how her injured looks deeply affected her in her interview with Dateline.
“[When I saw myself], I think I just saw the reality of what had happened. I had my eye patch on, I didn’t have my hand, half my head was shaved. I was just thinking, <<Wow. How life can change in an instant and how that’s not the way I have looked in the past>>.”
The fashion blogger also spoke to People magazine this week about the future and learning to live with three different prosthetic limbs, hair extensions where her head was shaved and having to do everything with one hand.
A sometimes fashion model before the accident, Lauren Scruggs revealed she has struggled to come to terms with her changing looks.
She said: “Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the fact that I don’t look the same. I still struggle with that – I want to look nice. But every day I’m feeling better and better.”
“When I got home from hospital I would cry a lot and it was hard to look in the mirror. Before the accident I would get a lot of attention for the way I looked, so I held a lot of my identity there.
“But these things aren’t going to make you feel whole. They’re empty things.”
Wondering if any guy would ever like her because of her prosthetic arms, she reveals she now feels good about them.
Lauren Scruggs has three different arms – her passive prosthetic which she can’t move but looks incredibly lifelike, her workout prosthetic which she uses for boxing and other exercises and another arm that come with attachments, including a paddle-like device for swimming.
She is in rehab for up to three hours a day to practice ordinary tasks without her left hand and can now tie her shoes, put her hair up and drive – which she does with the help of her knee.
Referring to losing her hand, she said: “Reality hit me when I got off my pain medication. I just wanted my hand back. I went through the process of grieving and still am today.
“My doctor told me that losing your hand is like losing someone in your family. Because it’s a part of you.”
Former model Lauren Scruggs screamed “I am so ugly!” in a fit of rage as she struggled to come to the enormity of her horrific injuries after walking into a plane propeller.
In her memoir, Lauren Scruggs says that she started yelling: “My life is ruined! No one will ever love me!” as she was consumed with “primal, uncontrollable” anger.
The book also details the moment she looked at herself in the mirror naked for the first time since the accident and collapsed in a “storm of mourning” after staring at the dent in her shaven skull with titanium plates in it, the scar down her face, her sagging lip, her missing left eye, her missing left hand and four cracked teeth.
Lauren Scruggs tells her story in her memoir Still Lolo, published next week.
The book is the first time the 24-year-old fashion blogger has spoken in depth of the moment she walked into a spinning airplane propeller in December last year – and her slow, agonizing recovery.
By January, Lauren Scruggs was on her way to recovery but suddenly found she was suffering from mood swings which she had never encountered before.
Lauren Scruggs writes: “From out of nowhere this phantom rage rushed over me. I was absolutely primal, uncontrollable.
“I started yelling: <<My life is ruined! No one will ever love me! I am so ugly!>>”
Lauren Scruggs was eventually calmed down by relatives, but the pain still burned inside her.
Earlier in January she had stood in front of a mirror naked for the first time since the accident, staring at her body for a full ten minutes.
She looks at everything including the eye which had to be removed and her missing left arm.
Still Lolo A Spinning Propeller, a Horrific Accident, and a Family’s Journey of Hope, by Lauren Scruggs and published by Tyndale House is out on November 15
Lauren Scruggs writes: “From deep within me a storm of mourning brewed and broke forth.
“I climbed into the shower and the storm hit and the rain fell all around me.
“Then I crumpled onto the floor of the shower and sobbed.”
The accident which changed her life happened after she and family friend Curt Richmond had gone out in a small plane to see the Christmas lights above his Dallas home.
In the dramatic 911 call placed at 8:43 p.m. on December 3, a woman can be heard saying: “A girl walked into an airplane prop – I need an ambulance immediately. I think it cut her hand off.”
A male voice can also be heard moaning and crying and when asked what part of her body was hit, he says: “We don’t know, we haven’t turned her over.”
In her own words, Lauren Scruggs deals with the incident in the briefest terms.
She writes: “I remember the sky was black; we were on the dark side of the plane.
“It was December 3, 2011, and after that split second, I remember absolutely nothing.”
The memoir includes chapters by Lauren Scruggs’ family, including her mother Cheryl who was among the first on the scene.
In her dramatic account she describes the moment when she realized something was terribly wrong.
Cheryl Scruggs writes that as the paramedics were packing Lauren into the stretcher, she asked: “Why is my hand white?”
“I can’t see it! I can’t see it!’ Her shirt was over her hand.”
Lauren Scruggs was rushed to Parkland Hospital in Dallas where doctors stabilized her condition, and allowed Cheryl and Lauren’s father Jeff in to see her for the first time.
In those early days Cheryl Scruggs wrote on her blog how the only way to keep her daughter from agonizing pain was to keep her distracted but that when she tried to sleep it came “ferociously at times”.
In the book, Lauren Scruggs tells her side and how she regains consciousness, begins to walk again and two months later is well enough to return to editing her fashion blog, Lolo.
In April this year, Lauren Scruggs stepped out in public for the first time showing off her amputated arm as she sat in a Dallas cafe with friends.
Over the summer she Tweeted to her 12,500 followers that she “surfed the afternoon away” during a “great day” out.
As she regained her strength, Lauren Scruggs recently posted a photo on Instagram of her showing off her incredibly realistic looking prosthetic limb in public and is preparing to appear on Katie Couric’s ABC show, NBC’s Today programme and has done and interview with People magazine, all out next week to talk about her ordeal.
She has also had to work out how to live and function with her impairment – including learning how to drive a car stick shift.
Despite all that she has been though, Lauren writes in the memoir that her trama has given her a ‘new perspective’ on the world.
She has taken a long look at her life and has realized “there was so much more to my life than being worried about how I looked”.
Texan model Lauren Scruggs, who had her left eye and arm chopped off after she walked into a plane propeller last year, has now learned how to drive a stick shift.
Despite her life-changing injuries – she suffered a fractured skull, a broken collarbone and brain injuries during the horrific accident – Lauren Scruggs, 23, is determined to lead a normal life.
Lauren Scruggs made the announcement on Twitter on Monday.
“Randomly learned how to drive a stick shift today. It’s kind of exhilarating,” the former model posted.
Lauren Scruggs released the cover to her upcoming autobiography last month, a testament to the fact that she is moving on with her life.
Her parents confirmed in April that she was working with a journalist to help her write about the life-changing incident.
On May 15, Lauren Scruggs tweeted a picture of the cover, and affirmed her ever-present Christian faith has played a guiding role in her recovery.
She wrote: “Humbled & thankful to share the journey God has chosen 4 me. Hope it helps others learn, as I have, that He is enough.”
Lauren Scruggs released the cover to her upcoming autobiography last month, a testament to the fact that she is moving on with her life
The cover shows Lauren Scruggs wearing a yellow top with her long blonde hair covering her left eye, which was replaced with a glass substitute after her real eye had to be removed due to the accident.
In the memoir, entitled Still Lolo, Lauren Scruggs will write alongside New York Times writer Marcus Brotherton about that fateful night of December 3, 2011.
The book, slated for release this November, will also contain segments on faith and Christian belief.
Lauren Scruggs signed with Tyndale Momentum, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers who will be producing the reflective autobiography.
Though the book’s title makes a reference to the model’s nickname, there will also be excerpts from her parents, Cheryl and Jeff Scruggs.
The book deal, whose value is still unknown, is not the only financial gain that Lauren Scruggs will be receiving out of the incident.
It is rumored that Lauren Scruggs settled with the plane’s insurance company for more than $1 million.
According to the Courthouse News Service, the plane which injured the model was insured by Aggressive Insurance Services, along with a separate plane owned by the pilot Curt Richmond, a friend of the Scruggs family from Dallas, Texas.
Curt Richmond’s policy extended to other planes he pilots, the service said. Both have a $100,000 limit for passengers riding in the planes.
The report stated that Curt Richmond’s insurance “verbally offered” to pay Lauren Scruggs $200,000 after the December 3 accident.
Lauren Scruggs almost lost her life when she walked into the plane propeller after taking a short flight to see the Dallas Christmas lights from the sky.
She suffered a fractured skull, broken collarbone, brain injuries and lost her left hand. Two weeks after the tragic accident, doctors decided that they had to remove Lauren’s eye.
Speaking on Good Morning America in early April, her father said that his daughter recalls nothing of walking into the plane’s propeller.
“She has the courage to wake up every day and do what she needs to do,” Cheryl Scruggs told GMA.
“She’s doing remarkable.”
Jeff Scruggs chipped in, saying their daughter is still the same buoyant person.
“She has the same spunk, the same personality.”
Katie Couric, GMA’s guest host at the time, asked if Lauren Scruggs has any memory of the accident.
Jeff Scruggs responded: “The last thing she remembers is getting out of the plane.”
She first proudly displayed her prosthetic eye while out and about last month after she was pictured leaving the gym with her mother.
Her mother Cheryl Scruggs has written on the devoutly Christian family’s Caring Bridge website: “How blessed we are to see God’s Presence in Lo every single day. We never take this for granted.
“We are blessed beyond measure; blessed beyond our wildest dreams. Easy to say, hard to live.
“Not all of it appears, externally, as blessing, but <<we know that all things work together for those who love God>>, and we believe this is true.”
“I don’t know how to thank each one of you, properly, for so much love during this difficult incident in my life,” Lauren Scruggs wrote in January.
“My heart is so grateful beyond what I could ever imagine.
“Thank you dearly for the sweet encouragements, the precious words in letters and messages, the beautiful grace in pretty presents.
“But mostly I am so so thankful for you and your loving hearts and sweet spirits.”