LEWISTON — An Auburn woman who was critically injured when a moose struck the car in which she was riding emerged Wednesday night from a two-week coma.

Frank Gatto, who has been at his girlfriend Taylor Norcross’ hospital bed since doctors induced a coma and later, after she was removed from medication, said Thursday that she is responding to sounds, reaching to touch people, smiling and her eyes are focused.

“I went to kiss her on the cheek and she puckered her lips,” he said. “That was the first time anybody had seen anything like that. It was unbelievable. We had been hoping and praying for that type of response for days now.”

Norcross was riding in the front passenger seat of a 2004 Infinity on Nov. 4 when the car struck a moose in the northbound lane of the Maine Turnpike in Gray. The impact tore half of the roof off the car.

Norcross was listed in critical condition at Central Maine Medical Center, where she remains in the intensive care unit, Gatto said.

A spokeswoman said Thursday that Norcross’ condition had been upgraded to serious.

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On his Facebook page Wednesday, which is how Gatto has been sharing news about Norcross, he wrote, “Two weeks to the day from that horrible accident I can say she is finally awake! Taylor finally decided to come back to us.”

Norcross is breathing on her own since she was removed from a ventilator Wednesday, but continues to have a tracheal tube which may make it difficult for her to speak, he said.

Her overall health otherwise is good. Gatto said Norcross suffered no external injuries except for a couple of scratches. An MRI detected am area of her brain that was damaged. Her spine, also, appeared to be uninjured.

One of her neurosurgeons told Gatto he was impressed by Norcross’ progress and was optimistic, Gatto said.

Initially, her doctors had induced a medical coma using sedatives while attempting to reduce the swelling of her brain. A tube used to monitor her intracranial pressure was eventually removed. When that happened, her medications were lessened, along with pain medications in an effort to have her regain consciousness, Gatto had said.  

“We’re going to see where she’s at today and take it one step at a time,” Gatto said.

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