A Newington woman involved in a fiery car crash on Thanksgiving Day credits a stranger for stopping and helping to save her life.
“At this point I’m so grateful to be alive, that I was given a second chance,” Shannon Munoz said.
Munoz is still shocked she survived the crash.
The 22-year-old was driving on Route 9 southbound near exit 23 in Berlin when she lost control.
“I remember hitting the guardrail and the car just ricocheted to the other side of the highway and that’s when it flipped four or five times,” Munoz said.
Munoz was stuck inside the Volvo sedan with cars flying by.
It just happened an off-duty Hartford firefighter was driving not too far behind.
“As I passed I saw someone trapped in the car,” David Cote, a Hartford firefighter, said.
Cote parked and rushed to help.
He and two of Munoz cousins, who also happened to stop, pulled the driver from the car which was now on fire.
“I told her just to look at me and told her to trust me and that it will be over soon and she was strong,” Cote said.
Moments later the entire car burst into flames and Munoz was safely on her way to the hospital.
Now nine days later she’s recovering from a concussion and several broken bones.
She credits the angel who still is by her side for saving her life.
“I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank him but he’s always going to be in my prayers every day,” Munoz said.
“When you can help people, you help,” Cote said.
Munoz – who is an elementary school paraprofessional in Middletown – hopes to be home for Christmas and back to work early next year.
And this Christmas there’s an invitation for a special guest, the firefighter who will forever have a bond with that family.