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Roanoke's Priscilla Green survived Wednesday's harrowing wreck on Interstate 581.
Photo courtesy Zane Reed
Two tractor-trailers and three other vehicles were involved in a fiery wreck on Interstate 581 in Roanoke on Wednesday afternoon.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Roanoke resident Priscilla Green was on her way home from work on Wednesday, just like any other day. During her drive through rush hour on Interstate 581, she was thinking of all the things she had to do when she got home.
Then, she heard a crash.
Seconds later, as two tractor-trailers collided, one of them slammed into the side of her white Kia. Almost as soon as her crushed car stopped on the road she saw fire explode from one of the trucks.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, I have to get out of this car,’ ” Green said.
The driver’s side door was jammed, so she had to crawl to the passenger side to get out and escape the flames already licking her car.
“I don’t remember taking off my seat belt or crawling over the console,” she said.
Green said she was in complete shock and had trouble getting out of the passenger side as well. In a panic, she was pressing the wrong button to unlock the door . It may have also been jammed, but after a few tries she got it open and climbed out, only after getting her foot tangled in her purse on the floor.
She said the first and only thing she thought to do was run as far away from the burning wreck as she could.
“It’s like something you see on TV. It’s like it couldn’t be happening to you,” Green said. “I was so afraid I couldn’t get away fast enough. I just kept running.”
Green said people came to her aid. Several other drivers who stopped because of the wreck got out of their vehicles to offer assistance. She said a man named Dale — she never got his last name — asked if she was OK and let her sit in his car and rest. It was then she first realized she was bleeding, with bruises and scratches.
Green gets emotional recalling her feeling of utter helplessness as she watched the fire burn up the tractor-trailers, and knowing there were people inside. She said she was in a daze of shock after the wreck until she got to the hospital and saw her family there, including her husband of 40 years, Kenneth .
“I saw my husband and I just lost it and I was crying and it took me a long time to calm down,” Green said.
With only some cuts and bad bruises, Green was able to leave Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital at about 1:30 a.m.
Twenty-four hours after the wreck that took two lives and left a man charged with vehicular manslaughter, Green can’t stop the frequent flashbacks . She said she goes over and over what she feels were the scariest moments of her life.
“I just can’t believe it,” said Green. “And I just got a few bruises and not broken bones.” She can’t stop thinking about the two men who died in the crash and grieves for their families.
On Thursday she was able to see her car. Her white Kia is now a burned shell covered in black soot and missing part of the front end. Green knows she will never forget that Wednesday drive home and said she believes a higher power was watching over her .
“God opened that door,” said Green. “Because I couldn’t get it open and I know he opened it up for me. I just can’t believe I am still here.”
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