After surviving a terrible car crash, a woman returns to the scene of the accident. And she is stunned by what she discovers there. Because in the very place where she nearly lost her life, she literally finds pieces of her past.
Erika Wright was involved in a car crash on October 4, 2015. The 28-year-old had gone out to see some friends, but during her journey home, her life would change forever. She was just a few minutes away from her house in Columbia, South Carolina, when the incident occurred.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a torrent of water came crashing across the road, and the strength of it lifted the car up. Wright’s vehicle was then flipped around so that it stood on its front end. “A wall of water just came out of nowhere and picked my car up like a little raft and turned it around,” she subsequently told WIS TV.
Wright then tried to get out, but found that she was trapped. The flood waters were vicious, and they were beginning to fill the interior of her car. However, she still couldn’t exit the vehicle. “Kind of luckily, a cement block from the sidewalk and a tree hit my windshield and cracked it,” Wright recalled. “And that’s when I kicked the windshield out.”
But faced by such a strong current mixed with debris, Wright wasn’t able to use that as her escape route. Still, she knew that she couldn’t just stay in her vehicle either, as the water level was quickly rising. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to die in my car, I don’t want my mom to find me in my car,’” she said.
Desperately trying to find a way out, Wright opened the car’s sunroof and pulled herself through. As a result, though, she was then quite literally in dangerous waters. The current was moving rapidly and was full of rubble. It pulled Wright away and sent her crashing into some nearby trees.
Her instincts told her to grab onto something, so she clutched hold of one of the trees. She then had no option but to hold on for dear life and keep herself above the water level. It was bitterly cold, and she found herself fighting the flood alone in the night.
And Wright’s fight continued for hours. She tried her hardest to keep her morale up in order to survive. “I was yelling. It was non-stop yelling for me,” she said. Thankfully, two hours in, she saw three men who were being rescued from a nearby truck.
“They kept telling me, yelling at me. After the fact, I found out they were telling me to hold on,” Wright explained. “They kept making movements for me to hold on to the tree. You couldn’t hear anything except for water.”
Altogether, her battle went on for more than four hours, until a member of the Columbia Fire Department finally managed to rescue her. She will likely always be grateful to him and to those men who yelled encouragement, because it was their shouts – as well as the desire to see her loved ones again – that gave her the drive to survive.
Sadly, though, Wright did not come out of the ordeal unscathed. After being examined by doctors, they informed her that she hadn’t just almost drowned, but she’d also suffered a rotator cuff tear. In addition, many of her other muscles had also been damaged by the experience.
“I was put in a heat suit to warm my body up. I had scrapes and everything all over my arms and hands,” said Wright. “And some on my face from when I hit the trees and vines.” But as time went on, her physical injuries recovered. Unfortunately, however, the same can’t be said for her mental scars.
Days after her near-death experience, Wright found out that a man in a nearby car had died. Not surprisingly, that revelation stuck with her. “It’s a daily talk I have in my mind with God,” Wright said. “Just trying to figure out, why did I make it out?”
In an effort to deal with these painful memories, Wright chose to return to the scene of the accident months later. She hoped that going back to Decker Boulevard would help to finally put her mind at rest. And as she walked into the woods, she found some missing pieces from her own past.
Along with a part of her old car’s windshield, she also found personal possessions that brought back many memories. These items included a Hawaiian lei and a couple of tickets for Dragon Con. But finding them wasn’t what made Wright’s heart skip a beat. It was something else.
Between the car debris and rubble, Wright saw a golden glint. And her heart sang when she realised that it came from her beloved golden chain, which she’d kept on her rear-view mirror. “Oh, my God,” Wright gasped. “It’s my cross.”
It was originally a present and finding it reduced her to tears. “I thought I’d lost it,” Wright said with watery eyes. She finally felt like there was a purpose to all that happened. “God is really here,” she added.
Wright now has a new appreciation for life, and she spoke about how important it was to make the most out of the time we have. “You only do get this one life and if you go through this, and you come out of it, you don’t want to waste it,” she said.
Looking back at the photos from Wright’s hellish experience, a lot of people have told her that it seems like a scene from a movie. In response, she said, “You kind of feel like that to a degree, but it was very much real.”
So, it’s great to know that Wright is now moving forward with her life. Returning to the fateful scene appeared to help heal her mental scars. Now, she can go on knowing that she was near death’s door, but came out a strong survivor.