GOP candidate Katie Arrington to continue campaign after car wreck, doctors optimistic

Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington plans to stay in the race to represent South Carolina’s 1st District after sustaining severe injuries in a car crash over the weekend that left her in critical condition.

During a press conference Monday with Sen. Tim Scott and doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina, Arrington spokesman Michael Mule said she would continue her campaign.

Arrington, who ousted incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., in the June 12 primary, was seriously injured on Friday in a car wreck that left one person dead. In a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday, her campaign said that she underwent surgery after she was injured when a driver traveling in the wrong direction hit her car. A friend who was also in the car was seriously injured.

Later Monday, investigators identified the woman who died: 69-year-old Helen White from Ravenel, S.C., west of Charleston. White had been involved in a hit-and-run crash a few minutes before the wreck involving Arrington, according to the coroner.

Arrington suffered a fracture in her back, several broken ribs and other injuries that required surgery, including the removal of part of her small intestine and a portion of her colon. According to doctors, Arrington also was bleeding from the abdominal wall and sustained small bowel injuries.

Arrington was taken off of a ventilator on Sunday, according to her doctors, who said she and her friend were “recovering well.”

“I expect she’ll progress quite quickly,” one of the doctors said. “She’s been very strong through this entire event. She has responded as a patient much younger in age than her true age.”

The doctor said that on average, patients who sustain these types of injuries and go through similar surgeries remain hospitalized for about 10 to 14 days. The doctor also said there was “no reason to think she won’t be able to walk” again.

Over the weekend, Sen. Scott visited Arrington, who has served as a state representative for the last two years. Scott spoke to Arrington, and she responded with written notes.

“One thing that was written down on the piece of paper she was writing on said ‘two weeks and I’ll be back at it,’” Scott explained. “Katie’s passion for serving her community was sharpened because of the accident.”

Scott said that Arrington had an “epiphany” and thinks her life was saved with the purpose of continuing to serve the people of her district.

“The campaign motivates her to full recovery,” Scott said.

Arrington’s Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham, said he would suspend his campaign until further notice, which Scott praised, calling his response a reinforcement of “the DNA of the low country.”

Also over the weekend, President Trump, who endorsed Arrington hours before the primary earlier this month, tweeted:  “My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Katie Arrington of South Carolina, including all of those involved in last nights car accident, and their families.”

The president is expected to travel to South Carolina Monday, ahead of the primary runoff between GOP gubernatorial candidates Henry McMaster and John Warren. It is unclear whether Trump will visit Arrington while he is in the Palmetto State.

Fox News' Adam Shaw, Terace Garnier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.