Woman thanks first responders after January accident

Ernestine Stotts' car under tanker in January.
Ernestine Stotts' car under tanker in January.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - After a month of being in the hospital, one Jonesboro woman wants to express her thanks from the first responders who extracted her from a scary situation

"They showed me those pictures and I was like 'wow, I can't believe that. It was unreal! It was amazing that I came out of that alive!'" Ernestine Stotts told Region 8 News.

She's not the only one who was amazed, though.

"I'm just very glad that she's okay," first responder with the Jonesboro Fire Department, Rick Cooper said. "When I arrived and seen her, I didn't think that would be the case."

On January 21, first responders like Cooper worked to get Stotts safely out of her vehicle. The accident occurred after she failed to stop at a stop light and crashed into a Flash Oil truck tanker.

"The only thing I can remember is seeing the end of that 18 wheeler and the next thing I know, I was hitting it," Stotts told Region 8 News. She said from that point on, she doesn't remember much, except for comforting words from first responders. "He said 'ma'am, I'm gonna get you out of here.'"

It's something Stotts won't soon forget. Neither will Jonesboro Fire Department Battalion Chief, Jerry McCormick. McCormick told Region 8 News his crews had to get a little creative to make sure Stotts got out okay.

"We used the airbags to lift the back of the tanker up," McCormick explained, as the door to Stotts' car was keeping the roof from caving in.

"She didn't have the space in there for any further collapse. It would've been detrimental to her," McCormick said.

That creative work from emergency personnel is something Stotts said she can express nothing but gratitude for.

"If I could've got up and kissed him, I would have because he was my life saver."

Cooper said hearing thanks like that is the best feeling in the world

"It's why I do my job. I can't even put it into words," Cooper said.

Battalion Chief McCormick told Region 8 News it wasn't just his men that made the rescue possible, as Jonesboro Police and EMS were key in making sure the scene was kept secure and Stotts made it to the hospital safely.

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