A Texas nurse involved in the deadly interstate pile-up that killed six people managed to escape the scene of the accident by crawling out the trunk of her car — and finished the morning by showing up for her shift at work.
Rebecca Benson told ABC affiliate KTRK that she made it to work with a few aches and pains after her car became pinned between two semis on Interstate 35W near Fort Worth.
Benson said that when she left for work Thursday morning, the roads were "completely fine," and it wasn't until she approached a corner that she first hit some black ice.
"My car started to kind of spin out a little bit, but nothing crazy," she said. "So I was adjusting, and while I was coming around the corner, I could just see cars in front of me… There was a Coca-Cola semi and a car hauler semi that had kind of made almost like a triangle. I pointed the car there and prayed to god that I would be okay, and that's when I hit them."
Benson told KTRK she made an effort to relax her body as much as possible as she braced for impact, but knew that the real danger was the risk of having the cars and semis coming up behind her smash into her vehicle.
"You're sitting there, not being able to do anything, and you can hear semi after semi after semi hitting the group of cars," she said. "It literally was shaking my vehicle every time. It was terrifying."
Because of the way her car was pinned, Benson was unable to reach anything in front of her, and all of her doors were completely blocked, which prevented her from exiting. She said at one point someone even climbed over the roof of her car to reach others.
Eventually, someone opened the trunk of her car and asked if she was okay, and she was able to crawl out to safety.
As she was relatively unharmed, Benson was able to hitch a ride to work with a coworker, who was stuck in traffic on the other side of the highway.
"I hopped the barrier and literally walked up the highway and found him," she told KTRK. "It was just completely bizarre, like a zombie movie apocalypse."
Benson did half a shift at work, and then went to get checked out at the hospital at her husband's insistence.
"I have neck pain, shoulder pain. My left elbow is bruised to the high heavens, and typical aches and pains that you would have," she said. "But I am unbelievably blessed. The fact that I am not severely injured or dead is nothing short of a miracle."
Thursday morning's incident involved more than 100 vehicles and left at least six people dead, authorities said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Sixty-five patients sought medical care at hospitals.
Freezing rain fell in the Dallas-Fort Worth area overnight, leading to a winter storm warning to be issued, with anticipation of icy roadways and dangerous travel conditions, the National Weather Service reported.
Initial reports from MedStar EMS stated that multiple vehicles and patients had been involved in the crash — including a MedStar unit — and that an 18-wheeler had possibly rolled over.
Traffic was backed up in both directions before police shut down all northbound lanes of the NB I35 Toll Express and regular lanes, according to a tweet from the FWPD.
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