On November 15, Joe and Laurie Williams were returning home from a friend's funeral, but life as they knew it changed at a North Belt toll booth.
"Boom! And the next thing I know, we're sitting sideways and I'm staring at fire on the other side of the toll plaza," Williams said.
A speeding waste hauling truck had hit their car and several others. The truck driver was killed, as well as a woman in another vehicle.
Williams was able to crawl out of his crushed sedan. Laurie was in far worse shape.
"She was not talking. She was yelling, screaming -- she was hurting," Joe said.
She was freed by rescuers. Her injury was critical; she'd suffered severe head trauma with swelling of the brain. After nearly a month in the hospital, she was transferred last week to Memorial Hermann's TIRR Center. It's one small step after another, improving.
But Monday brought an important milestone.
"The speech therapist put a cap on her trachea and she was able to start whispering words, and one of them she loved me," Joe said.
On Saturday, Joe returns to his job as a Precinct 4 deputy constable. He's seen a lot of wrecks, has been in some himself but never one that hit so close to home. It's a reminder he says for everyone of how quickly the world can change.
"Life can be altered and changed in a heartbeat and that is a prefect example. We leave a funeral and ended up at the hospital," he said.
The investigation into the accident is still underway, and detectives are still waiting on the toxicology results of the driver to determine whether he'd suffered a medical condition or if something else is to blame.
Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices