LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - She didn't even have time to hit her brakes. Seventeen-year-old Alex Craig of Louisville was in stop-and-go rush hour traffic while it was raining on Interstate 71 last week.
It had started moving again. At 45 miles per hour, she stared down at her speedometer and when she looked back up it was too late. Her ten-year-old Acura RDX smashed into and slid halfway under the semitrailer.
"My head was about six inches away from the back of the semi. If I was any closer, I probably would've been decapitated," Alex told WAVE 3 News Anchor Scott Reynolds.
What officers said should have been a fatal crash was actually far from it. Alex fractured her jaw, her wrist and had a few cuts and scrapes. Her worst injury came from the incredibly tight spot the crash left her in.
"I was trying to claw and pop my airbag because I couldn't breathe," Craig said. "So I just kept going at the airbag, and there was so much glass on it, that's why I had like an open tendon on my left hand."
David Brassler from LMPD's Traffic Division was a doubting Thomas. Radio calls told him the driver was alive and talking before he arrived on scene. But he told Reynolds he had to run up and see for himself.
"There were tears of joy after the fact on many first responders, especially when we saw her walk away, you can't explain it," Brassler said.
A driver just a few cars behind the crash ran to help Alex. A woman named Amanda stayed with the teenager for nearly two hours, crawling into the wreckage and holding her hand, even as the loud cutting tools from the fire department carved away mangled metal just inches away. Another female driver stayed the entire time as well.
"And I believe that those two ladies truly saved her life, because they kept her as calm as she could be. They kept her talking, that she was going to live and I was coming," Alex's mother Natasha Craig said.
Actually, officers told Natasha that she couldn't get through traffic to make it to the scene, so they sent her to the hospital. There she found doctors picking glass from Alex's body for several hours.
Once home, visitors have streamed to visit, with cards, flowers and food. Alex had her phone in her purse at the time of the crash, but said she will refuse to take her eyes off the road from now on. The family credits God for the one in a million outcome of the crash. Alex said she plans to enjoy even the things she doesn't like, because she will never take her life and her health for gr anted. And she plans to be back on the field in a few weeks, working to help Sacred Heart's field hockey team strive for a state title.