DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - On Monday morning, Sam Cryer says she and her son were in a car crash just outside of DeRidder on Highway 27.
“I dropped my phone,” says Cryer, “So I looked down to pick it up, and in just a second, I heard my tires drop off. I looked up, thought there was a culvert. I over-corrected and next thing I know, we were flipping through the air. Over a stupid phone.”
Both were wearing their seat belts, but Cryer says her son’s snapped and he was thrown into the back seat. When the car came to a stop, he was able to crawl out, but Cryer says she was trapped. She says she was just thankful both of them were alive.
“I feel like God was with me, with us, because there was no way we would have survived otherwise,” says Cryer. “We both landed in the only areas of the truck where we would have survived.”
She says people who witnesses the wreck called 911.
“The first unit to arrive on scene was engine 1, with Fire Operator (Dakota) Cryer and Recruit (Adam) Keele" says Captain Eric Stracener. "As they arrived on scene, firefighter Cryer reported an overturned vehicle with at least one occupant still trapped inside. The victim was crushed between the seat, the center console, and the roof of the vehicle.”
DeRidder Fire Department West Side Station was one of the first responders to the scene, as well as Fire District 4.
“We began operations to check on her and remove her,” says Stracener. “We had to use airbags to lift the vehicle; it was resting on it’s roof. We had to get enough clearance to remove the driver’s side door. Once we removed the door, we were able to get enough separation to remove her. We stabilized and provided care until the ambulance arrived.”
Cryer says that while some of the firefighters worked to remove her from the vehicle, there was one who crawled into the vehicle and talked to her to keep her calm.
“They were great," says Cryer. "As soon as he crawled into the truck with me, I just felt like I was going to be OK. He explained the noises that were happening and kept me calm. It was very appreciated.”
Friday, Cryer was able to visit the DeRidder Fire Department’s West Side Station to thank some of those who helped her and her son earlier in the week.
“Being reunited with someone you have been able to help, to have them come and give a thank you...that’s great,” says Stracener. "It’s not what we’re here for. I think I speak for all of these guys when I say we love our jobs and we love doing what we do, that’s just kind of an extra bonus. It’s not looked for, it’s not expected, but it’s really nice when it happens. "
“Appreciate your first responders: your firemen, your paramedics, your ER staff. Because when something like this happens and you are terrified, they are the ones who come to you and tell you you’re going to be OK and they have your back," says Cryer. “Pray for them everyday.”
Cryer says she plans on bringing cookies or gumbo to the first responders who kept her and her son calm in the terrifying situation.