Woman: I was involved in initial wreck on I-10

November 22, 2012 10:00:00 PM PST
Some victims of Thursday's massive pileup in Jefferson County are still in hospitals, but one woman says she was lucky to come out of the crash with no serious injuries. She says she not only saw the destruction first hand, but was also the first victim in the crash.

There was mangled metal as far as the eye could see. Two people died and several more are still in critical condition from the nearly 150 car pileup on I-10 near Beaumont.

"If I hadn't been there, would any of this have happened?" wondered Cheryl Sturgis.

Sturgis was driving her Chevy Tahoe home to Mississippi after spending Thanksgiving with family in Bellville. She remembers seeing the car in front of her stop, so she slowed down.

Then suddenly, the car behind her slammed into her. After that, she says she heard nearly 150 cars crash into each other, one by one.

"It was the squealing of the jack brakes, the squealing of the tires, and then the ka-booms," Sturgis said. "Over and over again."

"How many did you hear?" we asked her.

"I can't even say," she told us. "Probably every one of them. It seems like it was eternity before it stopped."

Her three young grandchildren were in the back seat, so Sturgis immediately called her daughter.

"I got a phone call at 8 o'clock and it was, 'I need you to call 911. I can't get the kids out,' and it hung up," said Sturgis' daughter, Jennifer Bracken. "And I just panicked."

Luckily, other drivers helped Sturgis and the kids get out of the Tahoe and took them to the hospital. The kids were perfectly fine and Sturgis walked away with only a few cuts and bruises.

"Everybody did everything they could," said Sturgis. "And that, to me, was a true Thanksgiving."

Sturgis says she doesn't know when she's going home. She doesn't have a car to drive, and, as you can imagine, trying to figure out whose insurance company is responsible is a long process.


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