Erika Wright greets each day with a newfound sense of appreciation. In a way most of us will never understand, she knows how precious life is, and how easily it can be swept away—because it nearly happened to her.
Wright was driving home after a night out with friends in 2015. She was the designated driver that night, and she’d just finished dropping off her last friend. According to WISTV, Wright became a victim of a violent flash flood that swept her car off the road.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to die in my car. I don’t want my mom to find me in my car,'” Wright said.
Wright described being hit by “a wall of water,” and what followed was a struggle of epic proportions. Wright’s car was tossed into a roadside ditch along the edge of the woods and pinned vertically against a tree. The car was nose down, and rising water levels meant that if she stayed in her car, she would drown.
She attempted to kick out the windshield, but soon realized the water was climbing too high. She crawled out through her sunroof instead, only to be swept away from her car by the powerful current.
As she was tossed around in the flood waters, she was struck in the face, arms, legs, and torso by debris. She was disoriented, and in a last-ditch effort, tried to grab hold of anything she could.
“I hit two trees, and I grabbed on to another one,” Wright said. “I was just trying to grasp at something, it was just instinct.”
For the next four hours, Wright would fight Mother Nature for her right to live.
The cold, rushing water crashed against her as she desperately screamed and held on for dear life. A truck of emergency responders spotted her in her second hour of her struggle, but the current made a rescue impossible. They continually encouraged her to keep holding on, something that Wright said fueled her desire to live.
As soon as the waters calmed enough, emergency crews moved in. She was in bad shape, and closer medical examination suggests that her ability to hang on for four hours was nothing short of an adrenaline-fueled miracle. Wright had a torn rotator cuff, water in her lungs, and her muscles were starting to deteriorate.
But she was alive—and she had survived a nightmarish ordeal. Wright said her physical recovery was nothing compared to the mental and emotional trauma she continued to deal with.
When she returned to the scene of the accident, she said she received a message of divine providence.
Just a few months later, Wright returned to the scene, because she believed confronting it head-on would help her healing. However, she never thought it would have such a profound effect.
As she pointed out the sights and described everything to a news crew, she stumbled upon something amazing. It was her review mirror, still intact with everything she had dangling from it the night she was swept away. She looked at each of the items with amusement—with a kind of “what are the odds!” look on her face.
But when she saw the gold cross that she’d owned for years before her accident was still intact, she began to weep. Speaking through tears, she was overwhelmed with emotion. “Oh, my God,” Wright said. “It’s my cross! I thought I’d lost it.”
Wright still struggles to understand what happened that night. Why did she survive? What is the greater meaning of her survival? Is there one? She believes there is. She was asked what the cross meant to her.
“A purpose,” Wright said. “God is really here.”