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Exclusive: 20-year-old survives Fiery Collision

20-year-old Hannah Shea knows she's lucky to be alive.

"I was so scared I was gonna be trapped in there," said Shea. "And I was just gonna die but I knew I had to get out."

Shea, by no fault of her own, was in the direct path of an oncoming car going upwards of 100mph according to North Carolina Highway Patrol investigators. The white Honda Civic driven by 21-year-old Alejandro Oroszo Cortes was in the northbound lane of the US 221 Bypass outside Marion when, according to investigators he lost control and crossed the center median ending up in front of Shea who had no time to stop. Cortez's car was already on fire. Shea said her car caught on fire from his. She remembered the moment right before the collision.

"I know I had looked down at my radio and I saw out of the corner of my eye something was different. And I looked up and I saw his car coming sideways towards me across the highway."

Shea said she had no memory of what happened next.

"I think it was all the adrenalin but I remember thinking I had rolled the window down but when I went to see my car, I saw all the glass was broken," said Shea. Even though she saw fire beginning to engulf her car, she had the presence to move quicky, unbuckle her seatbelt and climb to safety through her passenger side window. 

"I'm just in a lot of pain," said Shea who has a badly bruised right knee with stitches, and scrapes all over her forearms perhaps from climbing through the cut glass of her window. 

Cortes' brother and other family members came to the accident scene Friday. His brother told News 13 that Alex, as he called him, was a good brother and a hard worker, attending school and working part-time. Investigators say Oroszo Cortes lost control of his car and ended up in the oncoming traffic.

"My seat belt saved my life," said Shea who also said the airbag in her Chevy cobalt deployed. She implores everyone to wear a seatbelt but she also has a message about the victim who witnesses said was driving recklessly.

"He (Oroszo Cortes) was killed but he could have killed someone else," said Shea. "And it's just not worth doing all that."

by Kimberly King
Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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