On July 19, 2013, 22-year-old Morgan Lake was driving across Chesapeake Bay Bridge on her way to go dancing with friends when a speeding 18-wheeler semi-truck crashed into her car from behind. The impact caused her to collide with the car in front of her, sandwiching her between the two vehicles. The semi continued to push forward, eventually shattering Morgan’s driver’s side windows and forcing her vehicle over the bridge’s barrier. Within seconds, she was plummeting 13 feet into the water below.

As her car began to sink, Morgan remembers panicking and thinking she was going to die. After a moment, though, she felt a wave of calm that allowed her to unbuckle her seatbelt, climb out of the broken window, and swim to the surface. Still in shock, she managed to swim another 100 yards to some rocks underneath the bridge. She pulled herself out of the water, recited her mom’s phone number to some bystanders, and waited for help. Morgan was rescued from the rocks, airlifted to a shock trauma center, and hospitalized for two days, but miraculously made it out with non-life threatening injuries.

Still, Morgan considers herself forever changed by the crash, and never takes for granted the miracle that saved her life. Now, she works to help others who have been through or lost loved ones in a truck crash, and uses her voice as part of the Gaithersburg Transportation Committee and as a member of the Truck Safety Coalition community.