On May 26 at 4:16 p.m., my dog, Riley and I were in a near fatal car accident on I-5 south heading to San Francisco. It was a beautiful day to drive, but due to fatigue, my car veered off the road, hit a road sign, flipped several times, landing hood-side down on the shoulder. I crawled out of the passenger window to face five very relieved fellow travelers who unselfishly stopped, called 911 and tried their best to console me. I don't remember hearing sirens but soon a rescue team, CHP and ambulance appeared checking me for injuries, reassuring me and recovering Riley (a Westie) from the back seat. He came away without a scratch, I had a cut on my elbow and a few bruises. Miracles do happen.

There are so many people I wish to thank whose names I didn't get so please forgive me as I stumble through this acknowledgement. I will, however, never forget the many faces filled with concern and compassion. My gratitude goes out to the entire rescue team, CHP Officer #20647, Patrick Hines (who made sure Riley was safe until my husband, William arrived) and EMTs Matt and Tom, who convinced me going to the hospital was for the best. They were right.

At Mercy Medical Center the staff immediately took over. Pam, the attending nurse, was with me the whole time and when her shift was done (and I was discharged) she drove me to the Tree House to wait for William and Riley. Dr. Robert Evans and his caring team made sure I didn't have any other injuries. They even arranged the hotel room for the night and charged my cell phone.

William and I also want to thank Brian, Jeff and Zach at Black Butte Towing in Weed for staying open on Memorial Day to pick up the car's contents. We appreciated their confirmation that our little Honda Fit was an “engineering wonder,” as all airbags deployed, hugging us to safety.

Over the years, William and I have driven through the Mount Shasta area admiring it's quiet beauty, but on one Sunday afternoon in May we discovered the beauty lies in the people who live and work there. I will be forever grateful to the first responders who came our rescue. Thank you for being our angels on the ground because we clearly had one above.

Carla Hatley

San Francisco