Harford County woman escapes impalement in crash

Guardrail pierces driver's side window

BEL AIR, Md. - She had just gotten out of class at Harford Community College and was driving down the Bel Air Bypass, bound for a repair shop, when 26-year old Tiffany Greenwell's time ran out.

"I guess my CV joint broke, my axle broke and my steering wheel locked in the 10 o'clock position and just threw me right through the guardrail," recalled the crash victim.
    
Metal on metal---head on into the guardrail, as the front end of the car collapsed, sending the ripped rail twisting through the driver's side window.

"It was so smoky from the airbags deploying,” Tiffany told us, “I was like blowing... you know trying to blow air and that's when I saw the guardrail and I wasn't sure if I was safe to move or not.  Couldn't open my door, couldn't get out, couldn't move because the guardrail had me pinned in my seat."
    
It was only after paramedics arrived and freed Tiffany from the wreckage that she could see just how close of a call she had survived.

"Through the driver's side window all the way to the passenger windshield and thank God the inside part of the guardrail stopped, because I think the paramedic said it was like three centimeters from cutting my head off.”
    
While the twisting metal narrowly missed taking Tiffany's life, it also saved her from a head on collision, much like the one, which happened along the same stretch of road almost a decade ago claiming the life of a Perry Hall woman and her 8-year old son.

"Through the state legislature, the guardrails were then installed on that part of the highway, which cut down on the vehicle accidents, which occurred there at that time," said Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department Spokesperson Rich Gardiner.
    
It is a point not lost upon Tiffany Greenwell---a community college student and mother of two young boys who wound up in the middle of the wreckage, yet walked away with a few minor scratches on her hands from the shattered glass.

"There was an angel.  There was somebody on my side,” said Tiffany, “My grandmother passed away in 2008, and I think she was with me that day, because that guardrail should have gone all the way through."

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Tiffany says she remains sore and sought treatment for possible whiplash from the crash, which may explain why she says she has suffered nine seizures in the 72 hours since she was freed from that wreckage, but she knows she's lucky to be alive.
 

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