Arika Stovall and her boyfriend, Hunter Hanks, were driving through Tennessee on the way back from a New Year’s trip to Florida when they were involved in an accident that could have easily turned deadly.
They came out of the accident injured, but alive, and a friend took a poignant photo of the pair when they saw each other for the first time afterward. Stovall soon shared the photo on Facebook, along with a message thanking her boyfriend for doing what he could to protect her during the accident.
“Three seconds,” she wrote. “That’s how long we had from the moment we drifted off the road until the truck hit the pilar at 85mph. In three seconds Hunter had to handle a situation that would either kill us immediately or save our lives. He keeps beating himself up for my pain but he saved my life. He keeps saying ‘I should have protected you and I didn’t do that’ but he did exactly what he needed to do to make sure my life didn’t end.”
She went on to talk about the severity of the crash, which happened when Hanks’ Toyota Tundra drifted off the road and hit a bridge support. It’s unclear how the accident happened, as neither Hunter or Arika remember.
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“I’m overwhelmed at how little damage was done to Hunter and I in a wreck that should have chopped our bodies in half,” Stovall continued. “… The way God helped Hunter to respond exactly the way he did behind the wheel, spinning the truck exactly where it should have to be able to smash into the pilar (sic) directly in the middle of me and Hunter so we were both untouched…that doesn’t just happen. God doesn’t throw protection around like that for no reason. He does it because he’s not finished with us.”
The pair were released from the hospital 48 hours after the accident, which paramedics told Stovall should have ripped them “in half.”
“Here is the miracle part: no broken bones, concussions that lasted not even 24 hours, no internal damage, and just a few stitches in my knee and hunters (sic) face,” she wrote.
The pair credits God — and their love for each other — with helping them make it out relatively unscathed. “I lay my head on my pillow and can close my eyes knowing God’s not done with me and I can sleep with a peace that. He’s hopefully proud of my efforts of reaching others,” Hanks wrote on a separate Facebook post.