Fire truck accident victim speaks out

April 6, 2009 11:01:31 AM PDT
We're hearing from a woman involved in last week's collision of two fire trucks in the Montrose area. Part of her car was smashed by one of the trucks when it overturned. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Two fire trucks collided along Dunlavy and Westheimer one week ago, sending one of the trucks onto her car. She managed to escape with minor injuries. Now she's talking about what happened.

Jotika Ramachandani says she honestly doesn't know how she is alive today. She is describes in chilling detail the moments after that fire department ladder truck crushed her car.

She was driving to work, traveling south on Dunlavy when the fire engines collided on March 30. The ladder truck slammed onto the front of her car. She can't say exactly what she was thinking at the time. She never lost consciousness despite the force of the impact. Operating only on instinct, she says she knew she must get out of her car to survive.

"I just thought I have to get out because it's going to crush me or explode," said Ramachandani. "I tried to opening the doors on the left and the right. I couldn't get either one of them. So I pushed myself into the back seat open doors, which I'm not quite sure how I did because I was feeling this overall sense of pain and panic at the same time. I wasn't sure but I just wanted to get out."

She did get out through one of the back doors of that car and then staggered across the street for help. She was treated and released from the hospital the day of the wreck. She says she has a lot of lower body pain and that she is taking a lot of pain medication to cope.

Ramachandani says she has constant nightmares now about being trapped, about free falling. She is considering seeking counseling now to help her deal with that.

The Houston Police Department meantime has concluded that the driver of the ladder truck ran a red light that day. Police say that driver will be cited.

Though Ramachandani appeared with her attorney today, she says she has not decided yet if she plans to file a lawsuit against the city.

A bicyclist involved in the crash remains hospitalized. Leigh Boone is in critical condition. We've learned firefighters Brian Edwards and Michael Mayfield have been released from the hospital.

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