Injured victim left with questions after recent crash
By Joe Beck - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Heishman never saw the driver of a semi-trailer truck that sent her 2009 Honda Civic hurtling over a guardrail and down an embankment on Interstate 81 two weeks ago.
But her boyfriend did.
The truck driver, who had stopped to ask her boyfriend if she was all right, left the scene soon afterward, and state police say they are still looking for him. Heishman would also like to know who he is.
"I don't know how someone could just leave like that," Heishman said.
Heishman, 21, said the accident left her with three broken pelvic bones that required her to spend six nights at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. She returned last week to her parents' home in Woodstock where she undergoes physical therapy with a nurse who visits the house. Heishman said she wouldn't be able to put weight on her left leg for another six to eight weeks. In the meantime, she is using a walker to get around.
"It was pretty scary," Heishman said of the accident. "I remember closing my eyes, and I don't remember hitting the guardrail, and then the pain just started, and I started screaming."
State police said the accident happened around 8:15 p.m. Sept. 21 at mile marker 274. Heishman said she was on her way to the Edinburg Old Time Festival to watch her father play in a basketball game. Her boyfriend was driving just ahead of her in a pickup truck.
She said she saw the semi-trailer truck as she drove down the entrance ramp behind her boyfriend.
At first, everything seemed fine. The semi pulled into the left lane to let her 2009 Honda Civic merge into northbound traffic from the Mt. Jackson ramp, she said.
But then the truck tried to change back to the right lane, she said. In doing so, it came in behind her and hit the back left side of her car. She said the impact spun her car into the left lane and then back into the right lane before she went through a guardrail and 150 feet down an embankment.
Her boyfriend briefly encountered the truck driver as he rushed to help her, she said.
"He apparently stopped and asked my boyfriend if I was OK, she said of the driver. "I never saw him or anything."
The driver stepped out of his truck and inquired about her well being, but had left with his truck by the time her boyfriend returned from the wrecked car, Heishman said.
Heishman is a senior majoring in education at Bridgewater College. She said she hasn't been in class since the accident, but hopes to be back next week.
Her father, Stephen Heishman, said few, if any, people were likely to have seen her wrecked car at the bottom of the embankment as they passed by the accident scene. He said he hopes as more people hear his daughter's story, someone will remember seeing the semi and its driver on the night of Sept. 21.
"We hope it will jostle somebody's memory of seeing the tractor trailer sitting there, even though it was only there for a few minutes," he said.