Woman Injured in Wrong-Way Wreck Angry, Thankful
Posted November 27, 2007 5:33 p.m. EST
Updated November 28, 2007 10:54 a.m. EST
Jackson, N.C. — A woman injured in a head-on collision after a man drove the wrong way on Interstate 540 said she would like him to know how much he has taken from her.
Bettie Coates, 42, was headed home from work early on Oct. 25 when she was involved in the wreck on eastbound I-540 between Creedmoor and Six Forks roads.
"I was like, 'Oh my God.' I was like, 'That's a car,'" Coates said, noting that the other driver flicked on his lights a split-second before the collision. "I didn't see him. I couldn't turn. I didn't have time to react. I didn't have time to do anything."
Eblin Fabiel Ocampo Cruz, 22, has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, driving while impaired, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed and possession of a revoked license in connection with the wreck.
Authorities said Cruz is in the country illegally.
Coates, who had recently moved back to North Carolina from Pittsburgh, was trapped inside her Ford Mustang, which was crushed in the collision.
"I just remember a lot of blood just running down my face," she said.
The wreck shattered her thigh and ankle bones, and she underwent three surgeries during 29 days in WakeMed. She has moved in with her grandparents in Northampton County for the next few months while she recuperates.
Her lack of mobility makes it difficult to keep up with her 2-year-old son, Donovan, she said.
"He wants me to play with him. He doesn't understand why Mommy can't do certain things," she said.
Coates said she has thought about writing a letter to Cruz to let him know how hard it is for her not to play with Donovan, not to go check on the construction of her house and not to return to work.
"He's taken a lot from me," she said. "For him to have sneaked into the country (and) then for him to just think he can do whatever he can do and get away with it is very frustrating."
Still, she said, she's thankful to be alive. Passers-by who stopped to help her after the wreck said they were amazed she survived, she said.
"The good Lord up above wasn't ready for me. I do believe he has a reason and a purpose for me being here, and he spared my life. I really do," she said.