Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

The Car Accident That Changed My Life

In Fashion by Sarah Lindner26 Comments

Have you ever heard the saying “the energy you put out into the universe is the energy you get back”? Or, “if you speak things to the universe they might come true”? I was having a conversation with a friend a month prior to my accident and I said, “I wonder how it would feel if I ever got into a major car accident. Would it hurt? Who would be there for me? Would anyone care?”.

My accident happened 6/26/2007 at 1:24am on the Southern State on Long Island, New York.

The crash seemed to take forever. As I looked through my rear-view mirror I could see that there was no hope.

I had mere seconds before my SUV was being struck by someone going 120mph. 

I couldn’t do anything.

Braking couldn’t have stopped this.

I screamed for dear life.

My car was struck on the rear right side and within seconds my SUV had been flung across three lanes. Then suddenly – everything became light.

My truck was flying in the air, flipping over the guard rail before hanging upside down in the trees. My body, once full of life just nanoseconds before impact, was almost limp.

The moment my truck hit the trees, I assumed I was dead. I can replay what happened a hundred times in my head – trying to piece together what I felt as my car skidded across the highway and rolled over the guardrail, lights swirling like crazy into the night sky.

My body jerking to the dashboard, my forehead colliding with the window.  The noise of the metal being bashed against the guard rail was almost deafening to anyone around.

I was unconscious for five minutes.

There I was, upside down in the trees when I started to gain consciousness. I preferred the feeling of being unconscious rather than awake because when I was awake I could see my blood splattered everywhere. I could feel the blood dripping down my face. I could taste the coppery blood dripping in my mouth.

I looked all around and I noticed all the windows had shattered. I touched my hand to my head, only to look down and see my hand covered in blood. The seatbelt tugged on my skin so tight with every move I tried to make. I was stuck. I couldn’t get out.

A week prior to my car accident I saw the 2004 movie “Crash”. Do you remember the scene at the end of the movie where Thandie Newton’s car got hit, flipped over a few times, and was trapped in her car by her seat belt and seconds after being rescued her car set on fire? This was the first memory that I had when I realized I was trapped and couldn’t get my seat belt off.

The adrenaline was pumping through my veins and everything went into hyper-mode.

I had to get out. I just had to.

I started screaming and shaking for anyone to help me.

God please help me, God please help me.

A minute later a man named Ted climbed through the trees and came to my passenger side window. He saw me panicking and kept telling me to hold on help was on the way. I kept screaming “NO I HAVE TO GET OUT”. 

When he realized that I was doing everything in my power to get out of my seat belt he climbed through the shattered window and helped me crawl out of my car. While he was walking me away from my car, I kept saying, “no, I need to go back. I need to get my phone. I need to tell my parents I am okay”.

He assured me that once I walked away from the car he would call my parents and let them know.

As I was walking away from the car and climbing over the guardrail – everything was hazy. Almost as if the world was a flickering light switch. My vision kept flashing from darkness to pure, white light.

The only sound that filled my ears was the crushing of glass in my head.

When everything stopped – there I was, laying on the side of the Southern State Parkway.

Everything was so quiet. The only sound I heard was my own. I was so tired. My eyes were shutting. “Sarah, it’s okay. You can close your eyes” …then sirens… someone help me… here comes the helicopter.

“Sarah keep talking to me, don’t close your eyes” was repeated over and over again to me – by another motorist, also named Sarah.

My car accident happened going eastbound on the Southern State and it shut down the parkway completely.

While I was laying on the floor, with the helicopter about to land, and ambulances and fire trucks all around me – I heard a loud screech and BOOM. It was almost like it was happening all over again.

On the other side of the parkway, going westbound, someone else crashed their car directly on the opposite side.

I was airlifted to Nassau County Medical Center. I remember looking at the medic in the helicopter and asking him, “am I going to die?”.

I had no clue why they were airlifting me except for the fact that it must have been something really bad for them to have not put me in an ambulance.

The helicopter landed and a team of 15 doctors and nurses ran to take me out. It was almost like a scene in Grey’s Anatomy.

They brought me into the emergency room, laid me on a table, cut off all my clothing and said something along the lines of, “we are going to have to staple her head shut”.

Immediately after – my body went into shock. I was shaking, panicking and crying. That’s when they put me on a morphine drip and proceeded to put 12 staples in my head. I had those staples in my head for three weeks – surrounded by blood. I couldn’t shower the entire time that the staples were in.

I couldn’t move my left arm and they thought that I had broken that, as well. It wasn’t broken but I had shards of glass still left in my head and in my arm.

The state trooper from the accident came to the hospital and said when he walked up to my car he was expecting me to be dead. He told me that I was lucky to be alive and had  anyone been in the car with me, that they would have been dead.

To this day I still have shards of glass slowly coming to the surface of my skin and coming out of my head and arm.

I had a large bald spot after they took my staples out. The area of my head that was stapled shut was bald and although that area has become smaller over the years, a spot it still there.

For the three weeks that the staples were in I wore silk headbands and hats so no one would be able to see them and the fact that I had a big bald spot where my hair had once been. 

My love for cardigans began when I tried to hide the scars on my arm after my accident. Now it’s just a permanent part of my style.

In the last 12 years I’ve probably driven less than 100 times at night since the memory of the crash happening at night is always fresh on my mind.

I am forever blessed to be alive and beyond grateful for my family and best friends who helped me through my recovery.

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Blogger Sarah Lindner of The House of Sequins

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing Sarah! I’ve been following you for a while and I love hearing about this huge part of your life. This made you who you are and you are so lucky to have another shot at life! You and bear need to live it up!
    Xo
    Nicole

    1. Wow…thank you for sharing this with us.I’read a book the Secret.Ypu must read it,it tells you to be careful of what you think about,cause what you think about you bring about!Im a serious believer on it.Love your Instagram pic,we are blessed to have you with us.Thank you for being you.

  2. So glad you made it out ok! Things like that sure change your life forever! Those pictures make a great reminder how life can change within seconds!
    God Bless!!!
    Xx,
    Anna

  3. This was such a powerful read, Sarah. Really puts everything in life into perspective. So glad you are ok! ❤️

  4. I’m so sorry you went through this. Grateful you’re alive to tell about it and willing to share so others feel less alone. Thank God for people like Ted and Sarah who were there to help you. Can I ask what happened with the person driving 120 miles an hour???

    1. Author

      He had no insurance and no drivers licence. Unfortunately the cop was lazy and nothing happened to him except that he was taken to the hospital with his passenger 🙁

  5. Oh my god! You’re here for a very special reason 🙏🏻❤️

  6. So thankful you made it through this horrific accident and all of the recovery after! You are stronger and more beautiful (inside and out) because of it! ❤️

  7. So glad you are OK!!!! You are a warrior and I admire your strength and courage to share your story! Xo

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave and inspire others that their is light at the end of the tunnel. There was an angel by your side. I couldn’t help but notice, was the car you were driving a Subaru? I’ve heard it survives accidents and if you were driving one, thank goodness! I have a Forrester, I don’t like it too much but maybe I’ll hold on to it a while longer. Glad you are hear to give us fashion guidance. ❤️❤️❤️

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to relive it and tell it!! Also, I think it’s awesome to embrace your scars and share them with the world because they tell everyone you survived.

  10. So sorry you went through this terrible accident. So thankful you have recovered. You certainly are a strong woman and a survivor XOXO stay strong!

  11. Thank you for sharing your story with us. So sorry you went through such trauma. Those scars are a part of you, your story and your survival. You are a warrior! XO

  12. Nothing happened to him?!?! That is insane! I hope he did something good with his “do-over” because…wtf!

  13. Thanks for sharing, you are a special person and I couldn’t put my finger on it. You have so much light in your face!! This really hit home because I’ve been losing my hair due to a PTSD reaction that I had after one of my kids almost fell off a balcony and I’ve felt so self conscious. It’s been my body’s way of dealing with my anxiety. Hearing the story of your courage gives us all courage and gratitude. Keep shining! – a big fan

  14. Driving on the Southern State always makes me anxious and I try only to drive on it when absolutely necessary. Just something about it seems to bring careless driving. Thank you for sharing your story. You are strong, resilient and beautiful. Sending all the best from a fellow Islander. ✨

  15. Oh my gosh….I am speechless. You are so fortunate to have survived this. I couldn’t imagine the terror you must have gone through! It’s interesting to think someone who always wears cardigans as part of their style is normal and nothing really special, means so much more and is part of a larger and deeper story…. Thanks for letting us in to knowing you a little bit more. <3

  16. Thank you for your story. I started crying. I didn’t want to post this on your blog, too private. On my 19th bday (Aug 10, ‘00), I found out I had a mass inside my spinal cord at C-7, T-1 (lower neck). Was monitored by MRI’s every 6 mos to see if it was growing. A few mos after I turned 21 (Nov ‘02) I’d gone to my sorority’s semi-formal, for the next month my right foot was mostly numb, but it took me a month to put together the ‘why’. I thought it was from my stilettos. My dad told me I was to get in for my next MRI. He knew (he’s a surgeon) what the symptom was of. MRI results showed the mass had grown 4-5x’s it’s size in the last 6 months and was blocking about 3/4 of my spinal canal. I had 1 year till I’d be paralyzed from the neck down (and my body would’ve likely shut down). I could wait on surgery but the numbness & paralysis that was working it’s way up my body, they didn’t know if it would reverse. I ended up choosing to have surgery 9 days later, during winter break. While I freaked on the inside, I studied for fall finals. I told only 1 friend. I couldn’t deal with everyone else. My sister drove me nuts. No one was to touch me or try talking to me about it. I held it together. Until the anesthesiologist came to wheel me into surgery w my mom next to me, he said, “don’t be surprised if she doesn’t make it through this or is wheeled out on a vent”. That’s when I broke down (and I was pulled away as my mom had tears, too). My surgeon had kept the hard facts from me, I knew it was EXTREMELY dangerous, but he chose not to make it scarier. I was in the OR crying and not able to catch my breath. My surgeon just came over with his bright blue eyes, held my hand, and tried to soothe me. He to this day doesn’t know what the anesthesiologist said to me, he’d kill him. I woke, alive, and the 1 friend I told called EVERYONE. Soon everyone was at hospital or calling over next few days. Lots of why didn’t you tell me? I spent 9 mos in P/T relearning how to walk, balance, and essentially fake walking naturally. I have major neurological deficits. And am legally disabled now. My leg used to drag behind me or I’d have to lift it and swing it out and around. Real sexy at 21. I went right back to school for spring semester, slightly smaller load. Lots of humiliations, but I didn’t know any other way to act, so I just pressed on. One year from the date of my surgery (Dec. 19, 2003), I “walked” across the stage graduating from university (a semester behind, but I didn’t care). That was huge! As my dr told me, I never should’ve survived. And, that I never should’ve walked again, but I had bc I was so stubborn. I’ve had to fight a lot since then. And fight ignorant discrimination and rude comments of fucking idiotic assholes. I started working again, cocktailing at a fine dining restaurant and lounge – something I shouldn’t have been able to physically do. But I was young and still very agile (seems athletics, coordination, and balance had stayed w me from the decades of competitive dance, gym, and competitive sports). I had my 2nd back surgery about a decade later (May 25, 2013), anterior multi level spinal fusion and discectomy (disc removal) from C-6 to T-2. I have a laundry list of spinal disease issues and migraines that’d kill a horse. I’ve also had 3 knee surgeries and am in need of another, but just can’t deal with more disease at this point. It’s been a really rough road (no pun intended) and I’ll have problems the rest of my life. But, I get a lot of where you’re coming from. It’s a crazy experience to go thru something so crazy and traumatizing when you’re basically still a kid! And dealing with all the after effects. And, clearly remembering every single step of what’s happened. P.S., what led to them finding the mass was my getting into a car accident at 17 on the way to HS (and still having back pain 2 yrs later). I watched the whole thing coming at me from my rear view mirror, there was nothing I could do. Just locked up and watched thru the review mirror as a huge van came at my Jeep Cherokee while I was at a complete stop. XO 💜 Nicole

    ***Thank you for your encouragement in my posting this for others to read. You’re a warrior and survivor, too!

  17. Wow an incredible story. Thank God that you are alive Sarah. God’s mercy is new every morning and today you have the opportunity to surrender to Jesus and recognize that he is your only savior if you have not done it yet. God bless you and keep taking care of you. God is good!
    Xoxo ❤🙌

  18. I have three little girls and this is the terror I feel every time I think of them driving one day.
    Life can be gone so fast.
    So lucky your ok and Angels truly were with you that day!

  19. Amazing…….i cried reading your accident. Thanks for sharing this horrible moment. Cause we can’t understand when you are just speaking with the death, and it’s not a movie…..
    God bless you and have a long and beautiful life..

  20. Thank you so much for sharing this Sarah. I am so sorry to hear you went through this. I remember when your accident happened, I live not too far, I am so happy that you were able to walk away from the accident.

    On March 10, 2012 my SUV was hit head on by a speeding limo and to date I have had 5 operations and need to have more. I have physical scars all over from the different surgeries to repair some of the damage. And the most damaging scars are the mental and emotional scars. I can still, see feel and hear the crash, it plays over and over in my head at night, or when things are too quiet and even reading the post about your accident. I still cry and have panic attacks off and on when the images and sounds get to be too much especially on the anniversary of the accident. But, I am coping am a little better than I used to be. Sorry I went on and on.

    I hope you’re doing well and I wish you all the best. I Love Your Blog and always look forward to it.

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