A mother and daughter survived a near-fatal car accident on a California Interstate 26 years ago thanks to a Good Samaritan who came to the rescue. Now, a chance email has brought the two families together again.
Seattle resident Shelley Cumley spoke to MailOnline as she recalled the details that led up to the horrific accident.
“It was going to take us two days driving to reach Lake Tahoe from Seattle,” she said. “We were near Redding, California when all of a sudden this sports car came up behind us and hovered on our bumper. He was so close you couldn’t even see the headlights in the rear view mirror.”
Cumley and her friend were shocked at how the man was driving that they assumed he was drunk and would eventually crash.
“He passed us and we looked at him as he drove on by,” Cumley said. “Their heads were bobbing around. We were shocked. There were no cell phones at the time so we couldn’t even warn the police.”
When she and her friend turned around a bend in the road, their prediction came true.
The car driven by the drunk driver had crossed over the median and smashed head-on into Roanna Farley’s car, which was driving in the opposite direction, with her 7-month-old Nicole on board.
“We pulled over and I ran over to the car,” Cumley said. “It was completely destroyed. I could see the woman driver was pinned in her seat against the steering wheel.”
Cumley thought the car was going to explode so she grabbed the baby from the car and waited for paramedics to come help free Farley, who was screaming for her child.
The mother suffered from life-threatening injuries and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
“She was so worried about her baby girl and if nothing else, I wanted to show her, that she was safe – and alive,” Cumley said.
At the hospital, the doctors’ diagnosis of Nicole was made prematurely. A nurse explained to Cumley that the baby was paralyzed from the chest down and would never be able to walk.
“I was devastated,” she told News 10 ABC. “I thought maybe by removing her from her car seat that I made her injuries worse. I left that hospital changed forever. I was never sure of what my actions may have done.”
Last year, Cumley received an email from a website called Godvine and noticed a video thumbnail with a picture of a baby in it. The caption read “Nicole Farley” and Cumley flashed back to the accident in 1988.
“I stopped breathing, I couldn't believe it,” Cumley said. “What happened over the next three to four minutes was the most beautiful, incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The video shows Nicole as a grown woman with a happy and full life in a wheelchair. Cumley replied to Nicole and they planned to meet in March. However, the Farleys surprised her on Feb. 9. Cumley thought she was doing an interview for the station. But she didn’t expect to see Nicole Farley and her mother there, alive and well.
“Mom to mom, thank you so much,” Roanna says to Cumley in the ABC News interview. “Thank you for doing more than just holding my baby, for taking care of her and loving her and praying for her. There are no words I could ever express to thank you enough.”
(Photos via MailOnline)