In March 2017, sisters Malina, 21, and Maya Richardson, 20, were driving home from Radford University in Virginia when their car careened off the interstate.
According to WTVR, a tractor trailer merged into their lane without seeing the young women’s car. Malina swerved to avoid being hit, sending the car up and over an embankment.
Their mother, Dona, was on speaker phone with the girls at the time and heard everything. As she told WTVR:
“We could hear the scream. We could hear the gurgling — and then the silence.”
Her daughters had just been in an accident — a really bad one. According to WTVR, witnesses described the Chevy Cavalier as flying as high as the tree line before crashing.
The car was completely smashed.GoFundMe
Dona told WTVR:
“To hear your child scream, you’re like okay, I’ve got something. To hear them gurgling — you know they’re fighting to stay alive, but then to hear deafening silence — it’s a feeling no parent should have…”
The distraught mother stayed on the phone with her girls while her other daughter called 911.
According to the sisters’ GoFundMe page, Malina was taken to the trauma burn unit at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center with life-threatening burns, fractures, and multiple internal injuries. Doctors told Dona to “be prepared for anything” to happen.
Strangely, Maya suffered only a broken toe.
And it’s what happened in the seconds that passed during the accident that has their family convinced the young women were part of a miracle.GoFundMe
When the car hit the ground, Malina was reportedly thrown out of the window while Maya was thrown into the back seat. Both girls had been wearing their seat belts.
Maya remembered that at some point while their car was flying in the air she unclicked both of their seat belts.
As WTVR reports, the door to the driver’s side of the car, where Malina was sitting, was completely crushed. Her family believes she would have been too had she not been ejected from the back window.
After the impact, Maya said she found Malina laying under the car with hot oil dripping onto her face. In a miraculous feat of strength, the slight 20-year-old with one broken toe managed to lift the crumpled car off of her sister.
Malina credits Maya for saving her life — and her vision:
“If it weren’t for Maya, I probably wouldn’t be able to see or be here right now because she pulled me from underneath the car and saved me and she wiped the oil off from around my eyes.”
Although Malina suffered critical burns, doctors said had Maya not been able to wipe the oil off her they would have been even worse.
The college student spent a month in the hospital recovering but managed to make it out in time to graduate:
Her mother told WTVR it’s just another part of the miracle:
“Miracles have happened — you know — God is so good.”
When asked why she unbuckled the seat belts, Maya said she thought it was the right decision. Her mother, however, disagrees:
“There was no time for decision. This was God. If Malina had stayed in her seat, had stayed in her seat belt at impact, she would have died.”
Dona shared on GoFundMe that Malina was recently admitted back into the hospital for an infection — believed to stem from the accident earlier this year — and has asked for prayers for her daughter’s recovery.
No doubt with her sister by her side anything is possible.