Sabrina Iovane was screaming to her children to hold on.
As CBS New York reports, the mom of six was driving through pouring rain on the Long Island Expressway when her SUV hit a puddle. The car hydroplaned and flipped over, leaving Sabrina and two of her children trapped in the inverted vehicle.
She told CBS:
“We were literally hanging upside down from our seat belts.”
Sabrina and 15-year-old Simona lost consciousness, but 7-year-old Giancarlo came to the rescue. Wriggling out of his seat belt, he managed to climb out of the car and stood beside the highway yelling for help.
He didn't have to wait long. Brian Bell, an off-duty EMT, saw Giancarlo and came to help. He told CBS that he used scissors to get the mom and daughter out of the car:
“I took my shears out and I cut the seat belt, freeing her from the entrapment, and we were able to bring her out through the back, and I did similar to the rear side of the window as well.”
Also there to help were two Suffolk County Police detectives. They had seen the crash and noticed smoke coming from the upturned SUV. One of the detectives even used her body to protect Simona from the broken glass inside the car. The teen has special needs and the actions of the police woman left Sabrina with tears in her eyes. She told CBS:
“She said that a woman, I don’t know who it is, laid down on top of the glass and let her crawl out on top of her so that she wouldn’t get hurt.”
Despite the severity of the accident, no one was seriously hurt. Officers on the scene said that the family's seat belts saved them from greater injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved 14,668 lives in 2016 — and could have saved another 2,456 accident victims if they had been wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt in the front seat of a car reduces the chance of fatal injury by 45 percent and critical or moderate injury by 50 percent.