HOUSTON—In the hours after an Atascocita mom lost control of her SUV and crashed and rolled on the Eastex Freeway near the San Jacinto River, numerous published reports listed her in critical condition.
“I’m OK,” said Lisa who asked that we only use her first name. She was never in critical condition and, miraculously, was barely injured in the one-vehicle wreck. She said during the accident she was only concerned about her nine adopted children who were in the Ford Excursion. They were traveling with her on the way home from a family camping trip.
“I thought about that during the whole wreck when I couldn’t hear their voices. I thought what if something happened to one of my kids and it’s my fault? I thought I don’t even want them to get me out of the car if my kids aren’t OK.”
Lisa, who has three biological children and 11 adopted children, was making a late night/early morning trip back to their home in Atascocita last Friday. She swerved to avoid an object in the road and lost control of the SUV. The Excursion, with seating and seat belts for 11 passengers, flipped and rolled several times, landing on the crushed driver’s side door.
“I was praying and hoping, OK we’re just going to spin and we’re going to stop,” she said.
Natasha, 11, seated in the back row of seats, was able to unhook her seatbelt and get out. She ran to the edge of the road and flagged down the first car she could see for help. A group of teenagers helped Nick, 12, lift his siblings out of the SUV through a broken window. The family never got the teenagers’ names. They would like to find out who they were so they could say thanks.
“I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time,” said Nick when asked if he was scared during the ordeal. “I was kind of—all that was going through my mind was get them out.”
The nine children range in age from 3 to 12. The youngest were still strapped in car seats. Some of them slept through the entire accident.
Lisa was the only one trapped in the wreckage. An ice chest from the passenger seat, and a locked seatbelt had her pinned against her door. At her insistence a firefighter cut the seat belt so she could crawl out and check on all of her children.
“You might not think it’s important,” she said of the value of seatbelts. “You may think you’re just running to the store right by your house. But don’t leave without having your kids in car seats or buckling them up. I mean it’s that important.”
So important that Lisa and her husband are already looking for another Ford Excursion with the same number of seatbelts.