Bailey Buchanan was on a bus trip home with her North Central Texas College softball teammates after scrimmaging with another team in Oklahoma on Sept. 24, 2014, when tragedy struck.
They had stopped to grab something to eat at Braum’s, an ice cream and burger restaurant off the Interstate 35 in Oklahoma.
“We were enjoying the moment, I guess … We were just goofing off,” Buchanan told CBS DFW. “We were happy.”
Back on the bus full of her smiling teammates, Buchanan drifted off to sleep. While she was sleeping, an 18-wheeler that was driving on the wrong side of the road collided with the bus, killing four of her teammates.
Buchanan was the last girl to get off the bus. In total, there were 15 passengers injured or killed in the crash, according to NBC DFW.
“I saw the girls laying outside the bus,” Buchanan told LiftBump.
“I was thinking about the other girls,” she added. “And then I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I should call my parents and tell them what happened.’ I was in shock.”
Buchanan said that she used another girl's phone to alert her family to what had happened.
Buchanan broke her pelvis in the crash and had a number of other injuries after the collision. She still managed to get to the exit door. The head coach and a stranger who stopped to help pulled her out of the bus the rest of the way, reports IJReview.
A Facebook photo of the girl posted by her father four days after the accident shows Buchanan in a hospital bed after a five-hour surgery. He wrote that she was expecting another surgery and was awaiting the fitting of her back brace.
“Her color is coming back. She looks 1000% better!” her father wrote.
Buchanan was wheelchair-bound for some time and also had a leg brace. She can be seen wearing it in picture of her pitching, posted on Facebook by her mother. It was captioned, in part, “She’s certainly not ready to play in a game yet or practice regularly.”
Buchanan is set to play her first game since the accident in September 2014 this fall.