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Witness saw woman crash, steal second car before attempting to escape on semi-truck

Published: Aug. 20, 2019 at 9:40 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - While stuck in traffic on I-20, Faith Caldwell caught a flash in the corner of her eye, heard a scream, and went straight to the scene of the accident.

She witnessed a crash that shut down the interstate on Tuesday morning that turned deadly after authorities say someone was hit by a semi-truck.

According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the person who died was driving a stolen car from Georgia.

As she was driving down I-20, the car ran out of gas. When someone tried to help, the victim stole the person’s car. She then continued her drive and got into an accident with multiple other vehicles. She attempted to steal another good samaritan’s car after the crash but was unable to drive a stick shift. So, she ran, according to officials. As she tried to get away on foot, witnesses say she attempted to hold onto a semi-truck to escape.

At the time, all Caldwell knew was someone was in need.

“Someone starts screaming, so I get out around the vehicle in front of me, and I see a body of a woman and a tanker running off,” Caldwell said.

Years of training kicked in at the moment, but she was shocked when the patient with a severely injured hip seemingly didn’t want to stay and be helped. Caldwell only later learned from other witnesses that the car was stolen.

“First she didn’t even open her eyes, but I could see she was breathing and trying to move her arm and then she started screaming, “I have to go and started crying,” she told WIS in an exclusive interview.

According to South Carolina Highway Patrol, the victim died.

Caldwell describes the victim as suffering from a severe hip injury and desperate to move.

Witnesses say the vehicle that hit her was her last escape plan.

“She thought she was able to leave on a tanker, so she ran across 20 and tied to jump on the side of the ladder that was on the side of the tanker, and she lost her grip and fell under the wheels of the tanker,” Caldwell said.

Moving is one of the worst things you can do after an accident, according to Caldwell. She says it can cause more injuries, and people in severe accidents shouldn’t move until medical professionals are present.

South Carolina Highway Patrol and Lexington Sheriff’s Department say because the victim died, there will be no charges. Highway Patrol says the investigation is ongoing.

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