Woman in car on 95 when beam crashed down talks - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

UPDATE: Woman in car on 95 when beam crashed down talks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The woman who was in her SUV when a steel beam came crashing down on 95 South in Richmond yesterday is recovering at home today. She is wearing a neck brace and says she is lucky to be alive.

"I tried to swerve my car so no one would hit me and it just came right now. It just hit my car on the passenger side," said Gertrude Clarke.

Gertrude Clarke is breathing a sign of relief. "Lord, have mercy!"

You can still see the emotion in her eyes and the pain she's going through -- barely able to move her head in the neck brace. The thoughts of a terrifying ride down I-95 that could have taken her life.

"It's something you never forget. Just coming down the highway and something falls out of the sky," Gertrude said. 

She says it was a beam -- sitting on the highway in a picture provided to NBC12 -- that came crashing down and hit her car.

"I'm just lucky to be alive," added Gertrude. 

Tonight, she's talking about how she was rescued after an airbag in her SUV smacked her in the face. "A good Samaritan behind me, he came down and helped me out of the truck. I don't know who he is, but I thank him!"

Some familiar people, Gertrude's family, is coming back home to help. Others, like those she works with, are sending flowers. Even when we were the middle of interviewing Gertrude, another person called just to check up on her.

"I just want to thank everyone," she added.  

Her car it totaled and despite still being rattled, her spirits are high. "Better to be a new car than a new me!"

While she is recovering, we are uncovering new details about the accident.

VDOT says that OSHA has been called in to help with the investigation. OSHA safety officials have met with the contractor from the site on 95 and VDOT to see how this accident happened.

Right now, VDOT has suspended all work involving the beams in question and the machine used to do the work in the area. However, all other construction along 95 continues, as usual.

The investigation over this incident could go into next week. We are told VDOT is looking at everything that would help prevent this from happening again. That includes possible lane closures for this work, changing the type of equipment used and also changing the time of day this work is done.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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