By Shelby Lofton
FARMINGTON (KSL) — The family of a survivor of a serious car crash is thanking the good Samaritan who stopped to help her.
Renae Hilton’s family said her vehicle slid on ice Tuesday morning, sending her crashing into a guard rail.
Candace Rivera said she actually drove past Hilton’s crashed car on U.S. Route 89 in the Farmington area, but something told her to pull over and help.
“Whatever you may call it, for me, I feel like it was the Lord saying, ‘Hey, you need to pay attention to this,'” Rivera said.
She found a woman trapped inside an SUV. The guardrail had gone through the car. Parts of the vehicle were pinning her to her seat and she was seriously injured.
“I saw the metal guardrail actually impaled the van and was stuck, and through Renae, going all the way to the backseat of the van,” Rivera said. “It pushed the dashboard and the steering column down into her as well so she was just pinned incredibly tight.”
“A piece of the rail came through the car and impaled her leg and hip,” according to a GoFundMe page* raising money to help with Hilton’s recovery. “The impact was brutal and fractured her legs, hip, and pelvis.”
Rivera stayed with her for 26 minutes, physically holding the woman’s body in place, and applying pressure to wounds to stop the bleeding.
“I was laying in the snow next to the car and underneath the van, kind of coming up to give a lot of pressure because we had a top beam that was on top of her,” she said. “I wanted her to stay awake.”
She kept Hilton alert while Farmington firefighters used tools to cut and pry her out.
“After a while of being in that position, I think the reality came and we had some other conversations about what she would want someone to know,” Rivera said.
She remembers first responders working together for a total of 49 minutes to carefully extricate Hilton from the car.
“We were changing out who was holding what, and when someone got tired holding a bag, or we found another bone that was broken … another person was right there to step in,” Rivera said. “Multiple times we did not think we were going to get her out and get her to where she needed to be on time.”
Finally, Hilton was freed and taken to the hospital. The crash survivor’s family said she’s alive and stable in the ICU. They have set up the GoFundMe account to help take care of her medical bills.
She has a long recovery ahead of her, but they’re grateful Rivera chose to stop and help.
“Get some basic medical skills, some CPR, some life-saving measures because they’re so helpful — and take the time to see people, take the time to stop,” Rivera said.
Rivera has been in touch with the crash survivor’s family. They plan to get together in person soon.
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