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Update | Woman who hit FedEx van rescued by driver
Irene San Nicolas saw the fire. She tried to stand up, but her legs didn’t move.
“I didn’t know how bad I was hurt until I realized my legs weren’t working,” she said.
The 28-year-old Bremerton woman was traveling south on State Route 3 in Gorst with her one-month old infant girl and 8-year-old daughter when she lost control of her car Monday morning, causing a multi-vehicle crash that temporarily closed the highway near Division Avenue, the Washington State Patrol reported.
“It happened so fast,” she said Tuesday by phone from her hospital room in Tacoma. “All I could think about was I’m going to die. I was just hoping the skidding would stop somehow.”
Her 1999 BMW “started to skid,” she said, striking a guardrail and then crossing over the center line and hitting a northbound FedEx van. The collision caused the BMW to rotate back into the southbound lane, where it struck a third vehicle and caught on fire.
San Nicolas had to get herself — and her children — out of the vehicle and away from a fire that had started under her hood. That’s when she realized how badly she was injured.
“I tried to pull myself out,” she said. “But I couldn’t.”
The FedEx driver, 36-year-old Jonathan Calfy of Port Orchard, ran over to the smashed BMW, grabbed San Nicolas by the shirt and drug her away from the burning vehicle. Others who stopped at the scene, including 51-year-old Catherine Edwards of Bremerton, who was the third driver involved in the crash, helped get the children out of the car.
“The guy in the FedEx truck drug me across the road,” San Nicolas said. “He was holding me up. I was in a lot of pain.”
Calfy could not be reached for comment.
San Nicolas was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. She was treated for a fractured right and left pelvic bone, a broken rib and fractured vertebrae. Her baby also was taken to St. Joseph and her older daughter was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma as precautionary measures. Both were released.
The State Patrol reported that all drivers and passengers were wearing seat belts or proper restraints. San Nicolas was driving too fast for conditions, according to the WSP report, and charges against her are pending.
San Nicolas said from the hospital that she was lucky to be alive, and for now she has to focus on the long recovery ahead.
“I need to focus on recovery,” she said.