UI student hit by car shows signs of responding to doctors


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Nicole Ruffolo surprised family and friends Monday morning when she cracked her right eye open to catch a small glimpse of her family as doctors conducted a checkup.

The 22-year-old University of Iowa student was involved in an accident on the Purdue University campus after leaving a bar on April 20. She walked across Grant Street, and a vehicle traveling northbound struck her at 3:08 a.m.

Ruffolo sustained serious head injuries and was put into a medically induced coma. She is currently in a Purdue-area hospital.

Courtney Nichols, 25, was the driver of the vehicle who allegedly did not stop after striking Ruffolo. She was located and detained by police officials a few minutes later.

According to West Lafayette police, Nichols’ case was investigated by the prosecutor’s office on Monday, and charges will likely be filed today.

Ruffolo has shown signs of responding to doctors; however, she is still in critical condition, UI senior Bridget Quinn said.

“She cracked her right eye open to see her family, and when the doctor asked her to wiggle her toes she did and she also squeezed the doctor’s hand,” she said. “But she had to be sedated again to keep her anxiety level down.”

A donation page ¬†through fundly.com aims to help with hospital bills and expenses during Nicole’s recovery process. The website had raised approximately $11,562 toward the new goal of $15,000 as of 11:50 p.m. Monday.

“[Nicole] is going to be here for an extended amount of time,” Quinn said. “Her family needs as much money as they can get.”

Ruffolo’s friends are hosting a fundraiser at Which Wich, 23 S. Dubuque St.,¬† from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The local business has agreed to donate 10 percent of lunch sales and 15 percent of dinner sales to the fundraiser.

Ruffolo’s family hopes to use the money to not only help with her hospital bills, but also with traveling from Illinois to Indiana. They also hope to use the money for any rehabilitation Ruffolo will need once she is out of the hospital.

Because of Ruffolo’s critical condition, she will not be able to come back to finish the rest of the spring semester at the UI. UI Dean of Students’ Office and her family have not determined whether Ruffolo will be able to graduate this May.

Good news was also reported late Monday afternoon when doctors also took Ruffolo’s bandages off her head.

“Her color is back, and she is still fighting really hard,” Quinn said. “She is just a rock star, and we are very lucky.”

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