PENDLETON, Ind. — A local nurse is thanking two strangers she credits with saving her life after she was involved in a violent crash.
“They were my guardian angels, without a doubt,” said Ericka Cosby, who was heading to the hospital where she works when the crash happened Wednesday morning.
Cosby was driving on South County Road 750 West around when her phone fell off the console. She said the decision to try and grab it nearly cost her life.
“I didn’t even make it to pick it up before I was heading straight into the guardrail,” she said. “The police officer said I rode down the guardrail for about 10 feet and flipped down the hill two to three times, not sure how many, but I landed upside down half in the creek and half on the grass.”
Cosby said when the car came to a stop, she was stuck upside down, with no room to move.
“My head landed in between the door and the air bag, and the air bag was so inflated I couldn’t get my head from underneath it to be able to look for anything to call or to hit the OnStar button.”
“I rolled the windows down and honked the horn for what felt like ten minutes,” she told FOX59 News. She was hoping anyone might hear her calls for help. “I just kept thinking, ‘am I gonna be stuck here? Because it’s a country road that doesn’t get traveled often.’”
Robert Wilson, a stranger to Cosby, said he was driving down the road on the way to pick up work supplies when he noticed Cosby’s car down the hill. “I don’t know that I would have seen her if her lights weren’t on. She was down the embankment,” he said. “The lights are what caught my attention.”
“I got closer and I noticed that they were tail lights of a car and so I just stopped on the bridge and ran down to the car,” said Wilson.
Cosby said she finally got hold of her phone and dialed 911, when she heard Robert’s voice. “I heard a voice and the man came up to my door and started asking me if I was okay,” she said.
Cosby explained, “The minute I heard his voice I just felt like, okay, it’s gonna be okay.”
“I just started asking her did she hurt, could she move her legs and whatnot and she was hanging upside down,” Wilson said. “I didn’t want to move her. I didn’t know if I was gonna cause any more damage, so contemplating whether I should try to move her or wait for a few more people to get there.”
“Somewhere in between there the car started smoking, so this other mystery woman came up and we were trying to figure out how to get me down because I was suspended from the seat belt,” Cosby recalled.
She said she still doesn’t know who the woman is that helped, but she wants to let her know how grateful she is for saving her life.
“I was very afraid if I unbuckled the seat belt, I was just gonna land straight on my face because I couldn’t bend my knees to get them out anywhere,” Cosby said. “There was glass and so this man, his name is Rob, he actually crawled into my car on all fours and acted like a tabletop for me.”
“That man didn’t know me, and he literally let me fall onto him.”
Cosby said Wilson braced her fall as the mystery woman helped unbuckle her seat belt and pull her from the car.
She said, within seconds of being pulled away from the car, it was engulfed in flames.
“She helped me get out of the car. While he was still in the car, we both looked back and at that point it started catching on fire,” Cosby said.
According to Cosby, a third passerby, also dressed in scrubs and wearing a stethoscope around her neck, stopped to check on her as she was up the hill and away from the car.
“There are good people left in this world and that is very reassuring,” she said.
“If I were in that car when it caught fire I would have, without a doubt, had burn injuries and thankfully the only burn injury I have is from the airbag.”
“My nose is broken, my orbital is fractured, and I have a contusion on my heart, so thankfully I get to go home today, and I have lots of rest ordered,” she told FOX59 from her hospital room Thursday.
Cosby calls Wilson and the mystery woman heroes and said they are the reason she’s alive. Wilson, however, said he felt like he was just in the right place at the right time.
“I don’t feel like I’m a hero,” he said. “I don’t feel like I did anything that someone else wouldn’t do. I was brought up to help people.”
Wilson said to FOX59, “You would hope that anybody else would have done the same thing. I’d hate to live in a world where that’s not the case. I was just at the right place at the right time, I guess.”
He credits the mystery woman who also helped with being calm and level-headed, and said she took charge and deserves the credit.
“I was really grateful that someone else did get there to help with the transition of getting her out of there,” said Wilson.
FOX59 connected Cosby and Wilson over video chat Thursday so she could thank the stranger who didn’t hesitate to jump into action.
“You have no idea how much I appreciate you stopping to help me,” she said, emotional as she saw Wilson for the first time since the crash. “You guys saved my life.”
She told him she wouldn’t have been able to get out if they weren’t there to help.
“I don’t feel like I did anything that anybody else wouldn’t have done,” Wilson told her. I saw your car and noticed nobody was there and it was still going so I just ran down there.”
She had one additional thank you for him as they virtually reunited Thursday. She said after the crash, Wilson gave her his coat to keep warm.
Cosby hopes she will have the chance, once she heals, to thank Wilson and the second stranger who stopped, in person.
“I would also love to get your jacket back to you,” she said. “I really appreciate that too.” The two shared a laugh after meeting under a situation that was anything but cheerful.
“It could have been so much worse and I’m thankful that they were there to help me,” she said.
The Vernon Township Fire Department and Ambulance, who responded to the crash along with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Ingalls Police Department, and McCordsville Fire Department, told FOX59 News when they arrived the car was already engulfed.
Their original response to the scene was for a personal injury accident, but it turned to a fire attack as they pulled up to the scene and saw the flames, officials confirm.
The department said those bystanders were in the right place at the right time, noting how quickly the car caught fire.