January 08, 2002 11:00 pm

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

A 20-year-old Elgin woman has been hospitalized in Boises St. Alphonsus Medical Center intensive care unit since early December.

But now, Amy Daggetts father says, shes improving slowly, day by day.

For weeks after the Dec. 11 collision between Daggetts full-size pickup truck and a loaded log truck north of Island City, the young woman lingered in critical condition.

A hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday that while Daggett was still in intensive care, her condition was listed as serious and showing improvement.

For her parents, the signs are encouraging. Their only child now is opening one eye and has been able to respond to some questions with one blink for yes, and two blinks for no, Chris Daggett said Tuesday afternoon.

Chris Daggett has returned to work at the Boise Cascade mill in Elgin, while his wife, Diane, who works at Terry Industries of Oregon, remains at their daughters side in Boise. Daggett said he returns to the hospital every weekend.

Its going to be a long, slow process of healing, he added, explaining the difficulty of trying to deal with everything happening all at once.

Today, he added, doctors will be operating to apply a skin graft to Daggetts burned arm.

The Daggetts are grateful to everyone in the area who has contributed to the Pioneer Bank fund set up to help the family, to those who attended the benefit basketball games, and to everyone who has written or called to lend support.

All the prayers are greatly appreciated, Chris Daggett said, asking that people continue to keep Amy in their prayers as her recovery continues.