When Morgan Lake (pictured) sat obliviously in her car as traffic on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge (pictured below) moved at a snail’s pace, something told her to look in to her rearview mirror. When she saw an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer barreling down behind her, she just knew its driver would stop…but it didn’t.
Instead, the tractor-trailer hit her at full impact, catapulting her — still trapped inside her vehicle — atop a 3.5 foot barrier, where she momentarily teetered. Lake then plummeted 40 feet in to the bay’s waters. But as Lake began to descend in to the water, the 22-year-old quickly decided she did not want to die this way and found a way to save her own life, according to The Washington Post.
Lake explained, how in an instant, she went from panic to calm, “You can do this,” she told herself as the car’s cabin reportedly filled with water. “I got myself together.” After the Calvert County, Md., woman noticed that the driver’s side window was shattered, she reportedly unbuckled her seat belt, summoning enough strength to swim through it.
Lake says it felt like an eternity trying to swim to the surface of the water. In fact, she reportedly gasped for air five times. When she finally made it to the surface, Lake said she surveyed her surroundings and noticed a cluster of rocks that supported the base of one of the bridge’s pillars and swam in that direction.
Witnesses told police investigators that Lake swam several hundred feet to a jetty.
The college student was saved by a boater in the area, and Lake stayed with him until a county fire boat and a vessel from the Maryland Natural Resources Police came to her aid.
Lake was airlifted by helicopter to a trauma center in Baltimore and miraculously released from he hospital the following day — only suffering a sprained ankle and a few cuts and fractures that turned out to be lumps and bumps, according to Lake.
Watch Morgan Lake’s incredible story here:
The driver of the truck, Gabor Lovasz of Canada, was not injured, police said. So far, no police charges have been filed.