Last Update: Thursday, December 05, 2013
|Parents of Burbank Crash Survivor Thanks the Community|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 03 October 2013 01:54|
AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Gary Friedman
A policeman examines the wreckage of a Nissan involved in a the single-car fiery crash near an I-5 off-ramp Saturday, Sept. 28, in Burbank, Calif. Five people were killed and one 18-year-old woman survived.
BURBANK (CNS) - The parents of a young woman who was the sole survivor of a fiery weekend car crash that killed five other people said their daughter was devastated to learn of her friends' deaths, but believes she now has "five new angels'' watching over her.
Savannah Underwood, 18, was continuing to recover at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center from injuries suffered in the crash that occurred at 4:20 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. Police said a Nissan sedan slammed into a pillar in a curving underpass on southbound San Fernando Boulevard near Scott Road.
The car burst into flames on impact, but Underwood was able to crawl from the wreckage.
"When you have children, how grateful can you be that the good Lord decided to say, `Get out,' and she had the strength and the wisdom and the ability to get out,'' Underwood's father, David, said outside the hospital's emergency room.
Her mother, Valerie Lucas, said a delivery man who was in the area climbed over fences to reach the injured woman. "He heard her screaming and was able to literally drag her away from the vehicle,'' Lucas said.
The woman's parents thanked the community for the good wishes being expressed, and said their daughter was trying to make sense of the tragedy.
"She's devastated by what has happened,'' Lucas said. "She's recovering. She's a very, very strong girl. She's very thankful to be here and she's just getting through this as best as possible.
"... When she was told what happened, which was the following day, she was crying, and that was her first thing out of her mouth was she now has five new angels to watch over her, and that's how she feels.''
The names of the other victims -- three males and two females who were all badly burned -- have not yet been confirmed, but relatives identified them to various media outlets as Stephen Stoll, Sebastian Forero, Sameer Nevarez, Malak Hariri and Sugey Cuevas. They were all believed to be in their late teens to early 20s, and all recent graduates of Burbank-area high schools.
A moment of silence honoring the victims was observed at a town hall meeting in Burbank on the future of a 58-acre site controlled by Bob Hope Airport.
Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the young people who lost their lives so tragically Saturday morning,'' Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel- Luddy said. "Our thoughts are also with the young woman who survived and her family and friends as this is an especially painful time for them.''
Grief counselors were at Burbank and Burroughs high schools Monday, Sept. 30, in an effort to aid students attempting to cope with the deaths of five recent graduates.
"A tragedy of this magnitude affects the entire community, particularly one as close knit as Burbank,'' Gabel-Luddy said. "Due to the young age of the victims, it is important that we pay close attention to their peers as they navigate the grieving process.''
The Burbank Police Department is joining with the Burbank Unified School District, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Family Service Agency of Burbank "to ensure that the necessary resources are available for those in need,'' Gabel-Luddy said.
"The entire Burbank community feels the grief over this accident and we stand ready to assist,'' Gabel- Luddy said."Burbank is a resilient community whose strength will help all of us to weather this trying time.''