Chapin community holds benefit concert to help train crash survivors

Chapin community holds benefit concert to help train crash survivors

CHAPIN, S.C. (WIS) - The Chapin community came together to support three local girls who said they are lucky to be alive.

"People really thought the worst. Unfortunately, with the accident it was one of those things where you hate to hear something like that," said Nicholle Burrows, who helped organize the event. "It’s a tragedy that you don't think is gonna happen and all of a sudden it hits you and we have an entire community praying for them. They have just overcome every single obstacle that's been in there way."

On the day of the accident, Aleigh Tisdale, Gracen Derrick, and Sophia Zarzuela were on their way to Columbia just to walk around and hang out with friends.

But those plans quickly changed when they crossed the tracks on Walter McCartha Road.

"There's no cross-arms or anything and we went over the tracks and I'm not sure what happened, but the train hit us on Aleigh's driver side," said Gracen Derick.

The girls were taken to area hospitals: Alleigh by helicopter, Gracen, and Sophia by ambulance.

None of them really remember the moment the car was hit, saying it happened in the blink of an eye.

"I woke up in the hospital and all I remember is just like tons of people coming and visiting me and it was just so overwhelming," said Sophia Zarzuela.

Alleigh had to have surgery to remove her spleen while Gracen suffered injuries to her tibia and clavicle. Sophia's injuries were less severe but all three remain in physical therapy.

On Friday, however, they said they weren't thinking about what happened to them but rather how blessed they are to be alive.

"It’s like amazing, to see us all alive and doing well," said Aleigh Tisdale.

From tragedy, a special bond formed forever. They all now wear matching necklaces representing a day that altered the course of their lives.

During the benefit concert, national recording artist and Chapin native Baxter Teal took the stage.

Multiple raffles and auctions were also held to help the girls and their families pay for medical bills.

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