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Mitchell couple recovering from injuries

An avid motorcycling couple are recovering from surgeries after suffering serious injuries in a crash Sunday near Sioux Falls.

Steve and Verla Vlieger each broke a wrist in the crash, Verla broke one leg and Steve suffered severe internal injuries, according to their son, Todd Vlieger.

"Dad is in rougher shape," Todd said Wednesday. "He had surgeries Tuesday, and right now, he's more stable, but still on a ventilator."

Steve Vlieger, 63, was driving his motorcycle with Verla, 55, as the passenger. Around 5:45 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 90, the couple's motorcycle crashed into the back of a pickup when the pickup slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting a car making a U-turn.

Verla provides day care home for numerous families in Mitchell, and Steve is a crop insurance adjuster.

Steve Vlieger had one of his kidneys removed, Todd Vlieger said, among other procedures on which he wouldn't elaborate. At this point, no one is sure how Steve suffered such internal injuries, Todd Vlieger said. Steve Vlieger will open his eyes and squeeze a hand, but he's still weak and on pain medications.

Verla Vlieger is doing well after her surgeries Monday. She's in physical therapy, but is still in a lot of pain, Todd Vlieger said.

Verla Vlieger may be released from the hospital later this week to either go home or to a rehabilitation facility. Steve Vlieger will be in the hospital for awhile.

The couple have ridden their motorcycle all over, often to the Sturgis Rally, and have never had an accident until Sunday, their son said.

Todd Vlieger added that he, his brother and sister, and their families, have been at the hospital to support their parents. Other family and friends have stopped by to offer support and help.

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