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Woman describes escape from icy water

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

Erica Kennedy will never forget this week’s winter weather after she found herself submerged in icy water following a vehicle accident near the Lincoln/Catawba County line Monday morning.

“I could be better,” she told the Times-News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old said she was on her way to work in Mooresville around 5:45 a.m. when her 2003 Jeep Liberty hit black ice on a bridge on N.C. 150 East near Slanting Bridge Rd. in Catawba County.

She said her vehicle immediately slid across the center line, twice striking a guardrail on the opposite side of the roadway before sliding down an embankment and landing upside down in an area waterway.

“Within seconds, I was under water,” Kennedy said.

After failed attempts to break the driver’s side window, she noticed water was quickly pouring in through the passenger’s side window, which she said had been shattered in the wreck.

“If it wasn’t for that, I couldn’t have gotten out,” she said. “I was trying to yell for help but I couldn’t — nothing was coming out.”

Kennedy immediately crawled through the window and fled the vehicle. After climbing halfway up the rocky embankment, she said she again screamed for help and saw a delivery truck driver up ahead. The man carried her to safety.

“He came running down and picked me up,” Kennedy said. Emergency crews arrived a short time later, and she immediately called her boyfriend, a Charlotte paramedic, to the scene.

“He was coming off a 14-hour shift … and he came straight to me,” she said.

Kennedy sustained just a few minor cuts and bruises in the incident.

“I have two scrapes on my face, a bump on my head and paper cuts on my hands,” she said. “I was able to walk away fine.”

She’s concerned that the bridge’s guardrail is too low for the area and may cause more wrecks in the future.

“The guardrail is extremely low,” she said, “the lowest one I’ve ever seen. I pray to God they make it higher.”

Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue confirmed details of the wreck with the Times-News. Catawba County Emergency Medical Services additionally responded.

Two other wrecks occurred along N.C. 150 Monday, according to Lincoln County EMS. One occurred just before 6 a.m. at Ingleside Farm Road. No injuries were reported.

According to EMS Public Information Officer Kim Green, crews were unable to locate a second incident reported at the intersection of N.C. 150 and N.C. 16.

 

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