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Posted: 4:17 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2012
By Ken Lemon
SHELBY, N.C. —
A Shelby woman survived a deadly wreck Monday with only cuts and bruises even though she was stuck in a multi-car pile-up with her 9-week-old grandson as flames started appearing.
A video taken at the scene of the accident shows people trying to comfort Teresa Chandler. They were some of the same people who were trying to pull her and her grandson away from the flames.
“(Without them) I would have probably died because I couldn’t get up,” she said.
She said the accident happened after she slowed down for a stopped school bus on Highway 74 and a truck hit her from behind.
“As soon as I got the car door open, I heard the explosions and seen the fire,” she said.
Flames surrounded her car as she struggled to free her grandson, Skylar. He was upside down, she said, but still buckled in his car seat.
“I was screaming for people to help me, but they couldn’t hear me,” Chandler said.
She said she tugged at the seat belt, trying to free her grandson, but it would not release. But she refused to give up, she said.
“I would have lost my life yesterday before I lost my grandbaby,” she said.
Chandler was finally able to pull the boy free and away from the car, but fell on the pavement. She has had three back surgeries recently and could not move when she hit the ground.
Bystanders grabbed her grandson and pulled them both away from the flames.
George Hope of Boiling Springs was not as lucky as Chandler. He died in the fire.
“None of us were at fault. We were stopped in line for a school bus,” Chandler said.
The bus was stopped to drop off high school students for their internship at Sandy’s Country Christmas Store.
On Tuesday, the bus driver pulled into the store’s lot instead of stopping on the highway.
Calls to school officials asking about a change in route were not returned.
Police are still trying to determine who caused the accident. Another woman who was rescued from the crash is still in the hospital and listed in good condition.
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