Woman Slams Into Tree While Texting
Updated: Monday, January 7 2013, 05:00 PM EST
Investigators say texting is to blame for an incredible accident that landed a car in a patch of trees in Rutherford County.
"It didn't even sound like a wreck, you didn't hear tires squealing or anything like that - all you heard was a big bang," said Buffy Franklin of the wreck, which happened in her front yard off of Cleghorn Mill Road Friday.
"I went running out the door and come up here and I saw her," said Franklin.
A Nissan Altima was upright in a grove of trees with 20-year-old Ameila Upton inside.
"I kept hollering 'Are you okay?'," said Franklin. "She finally responded - I think she was knocked out, but it was like whimpering, you know like from a baby ... she was asking me to help her."
Franklin says she could not get to her. She called 911 and stayed near the car, with Upton trapped inside.
The Western Carolina University student was not wearing a seat belt and the impact left her just inside a passenger window facing backwards.
"She just kept saying she was sorry, I told her 'Honey, I'm just glad that you're okay and you're talking .. and it was like she just kept apologizing," says Franklin.
From inside the car Franklin says the Upton told her she had been texting when the car flew off the road.
"She come out and said it," said Franklin. "I was thinking, just thank God that you're alive."
Upton - who lives about a mile from the crash site - suffered only minor injuries; cuts to her face and bruises to her abdomen.
The Rutherford County resident is charged with driving left of the center lane, a seat belt violation and texting while driving, which carries a fine and points.
Follow Ashlea Surles on Twitter @AshleaSurles