Reporting Stacey Butler
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO (CBS) — Four months after Kelli Groves and her children survived the impossible, she’s speaking out about a horrifying ordeal — the day an 18-wheeler crashed into the back of her car on a bridge near Buellton.
The accident last January killed the driver of the truck after it fell 100 feet to a ravine.
For two and a half hours, the San Juan Capistrano teacher, her 10-year-old daughter Sage and baby Mylo were dangling from their mangled BMW.
“My first thought was, ‘we’re gonna fall,’” recalls Groves.
She reached in the backseat for her girls.
Mylo, just 10 weeks old, was bleeding badly but she was moving. Sage was hidden under twisted medal and whispering, “Help.”
Seconds later, help arrived.
First, firefighters cut through twisted medal but they didn’t have the right tools — the only thing that could save Kelli and her daughters was a heavy-duty forklift.
Kelli began to pray and says she suddenly felt the presence of her father who had recently passed away.
“I just said, ‘Daddy, you don’t need these girls. I need them. Don’t take them, please.’ I feel that it was his hands holding us up and when his hands got tired, he called in the Seabees,” she said.
In a miraculous turn, the Navy Seabees — a construction battalion — happened to be a few cars behind Kelli with a heavy-duty forklift.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine.
Litigation in this case is pending.