For Rachel Marinaro, Mardi Gras will always mark a nightmare she almost didn’t survive.
“I thought I was going to die,” the Spring Hill College sophomore told us from her dormitory. “All I remember is the truck hitting another car and coming straight at us. I was facing the truck, so I saw the headlights and then it hit me head on and ran over both my legs.”
Marinaro said she and her friends lay in a crumpled heap, and she thought she wasn’t going to make it. “I was holding one of my friend’s hands, and I couldn’t feel my legs. Somehow, I got on my phone and facetimed my parents because I thought I had to say goodbye,” Marinaro said. She added, “I just remember screaming in pain, ‘I got hit by a truck! My legs! My legs!’ That’s all they knew, and I said ‘I love you.'”
After what Marinaro said felt like an eternity, medics rushed her by stretcher into an ambulance. “It was just such an intense pain that I was just trying to breathe and keep my eyes open,” Marinaro said.
Aside from severe bruising on both of her legs and potentially torn ligaments, Marinaro said she was ok.
“I think it was a miracle from God. It could have been so much worse, and we all know that. It makes you take a step back and realize that life can be so short,” Marinaro said.
Two days after the crash, she can slowly make her way around the dormitory with the help of crutches and a good friend. She says once the swelling goes down, doctors will be able to determine if any ligaments are torn.
She says she’s lucky to be alive, but hopes the drunk driver learns a lesson. “It makes me sick that he would risk so many people’s lives including his own. It makes me want to tell all my friends, ‘do not pick those keys up after you pick up a drink.'”
With a new lease on life, she says advocating against drunk driving is something she plans to pursue, knowing her life could have ended on that stretcher.