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 6/26/2006 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.