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It was the worst call a parent could receive.

At 1 a.m. on Oct. 30, Melanie Ray's phone rang and shortly after, she and her husband Kevin were told that their daughter was in critical condition after a car crash along Highway 43 in Northport.

Within moments, Melanie and Kevin Ray threw clothes in a bag, said they loved each other and made the trip from Texas to Alabama to be with their daughter, Victoria Ray.

Kevin, who taught his daughter to say "Roll Tide" instead of "Hello," was forced to drive more than 600 miles because he and Melanie could not catch a flight due to COVID-19.

The McCalla native said their daughter was unconscious when she arrived at DCH after the accident and woke up just long enough to give doctors her parents' contact info before she lost consciousness again.

Kevin said the collision left Victoria with internal bleeding, a brain bleed, five fractures to her pelvis, a broken tailbone, a break in her femur near her pelvis, a fractured tibia and two broken feet, ankles and heels. She was transported to UAB Medical Center where she still remains.

"She's just pinned together," Kevin Ray said in an exclusive interview with The Tuscaloosa Thread. "Right now she is in surgery as we speak for the left side of her hip. Because the internal bleeding has made it very difficult to operate, they're trying to be as tactical as they can to get her better."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the Rays, who plan to remain in Birmingham as long as it takes their daughter to recover from her injuries.

Donations to the page will go towards helping the family cover mounting medical expenses, the cost of Victoria's rehab and the purchase of equipment to help her adjust to living back in Texas.

Her father said that Victoria Ray, a freshman at The University of Alabama, was obtaining her degree in general business but wants to become a lawyer and in either criminal litigation or business law. He said she "always feels at home" when she is in Tuscaloosa.

"She just said it's just so beautiful. It's so gorgeous, even for such a big school," Kevin Ray said. "We raised our child to yes or no sir, yes ma'am and no ma'am, and Alabama, especially [Tuscaloosa] is just a different place. It's a place where you know decent people exercise mutual respect for one another."

He said Victoria loved UA so much that when it came time for her to apply to college, she only applied to one school, Alabama. Kevin said when she was accepted, the entire family was thrilled for her.

"She's been coming to football games since the sixth grade, she's just never known anything other than UA," Kevin Ray said. "All my daughter's ever dreamed of doing is coming to The University of Alabama."

He also took time to thank the doctors, nurses and other staff at UAB for their care of his daughter, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Highway Patrol Division, whose State Troopers saved her life.

Stay connected to The Tuscaloosa Thread for more updates as they become available.

To donate or to learn more about Victoria's condition, check out the family's GoFundMe page here.

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