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Anika’s apartment was destroyed

You know, there’s just something about Friday night.

For a lot of people, it’s the end of the work week, and you can just sort of chill out. You don’t have to worry about getting a good night of sleep, because you don’t have any particular reason to get up early on Saturday.  So Friday night is often when many people just kind of exhale, maybe order some food to be delivered, see what’s on Netflix or Hulu, and just kind of zone out. Maybe even fall asleep on the couch – because who cares, you can sleep in tomorrow.

That was the plan that Anika had on a Friday night. Have some dinner and put her daughters to bed, and then her best friend was coming over for a glass or two of wine, and they would just unwind. It was going to be a nice, quiet evening to end the week.

That’s not what happened.

where the car made entry
where the car crashed in – on the right is one of the teen boys who helped

 

inside the apartment after the crash
inside the apartment after the crash

 

Arrie and Addison, sometime before the crash
Arrie and Addison, sometime before the crash

 

Anika with her daughters today
Anika with her daughters today

Full show notes for this episode are here:
https://WhatWasThatLike.com/130

Graphics created by Bob Bretz.

Transcription done by James Lai.

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Episode transcript (download transcript PDF)

You know, there’s just something about Friday night.

 

For a lot of people, it’s the end of the work week, and you can just sort of chill out. You don’t have to worry about getting a good night of sleep, because you don’t have any particular reason to get up early on Saturday.  So Friday night is often when many people just kind of exhale, maybe order some food to be delivered, see what’s on Netflix or Hulu, and just kind of zone out. Maybe even fall asleep on the couch – because who cares, you can sleep in tomorrow.

 

That was the plan that Anika had on a Friday night. Have some dinner and put her daughters to bed, and then her best friend was coming over for a glass or two of wine, and they would just unwind. It was going to be a nice, quiet evening to end the week.

 

That’s not what happened.

 

 

Scott

Who was home when this happened?

 

Anika

It was me and my two girls, Arrie and Addison.

 

Scott

So you had a three-year-old and a one-year-old and they kind of require a lot of attention. What was your life like at that time?

 

Anika

At that time, I was in college. I was doing my undergrad degree in psychology and I was a single mom, of course, with 2 toddlers. They are very busy.

 

Scott

A single mom with 2 little girls. Were you working also? How were you paying the bills at that time?

 

Anika

Yes. I was a Carhop at SONIC, actually. I was working a lot of hours and going to school, so it was kind of rough.

 

Scott

Wow. That is a busy life, for sure. You guys were in an apartment. How was the apartment laid out?

 

Anika

It was a 2-bedroom with just 1 bath. There was a closet right in front of you as you walked in, and then a bar. To the right was a living room area. To the left was the little bar – it had a little cutout you can look into the kitchen area. Then, as you walked up, past the living area was the dining room area. There were 2 sliding glass doors that led out to a patio. Then, as you walked a little bit further past the living room, there was a bathroom straight ahead and then 2 bedrooms, one on each side – the right and the left.

 

Scott

The critical part of that is that the sliding glass doors, kind of, faced a street, right? What was behind that?

 

Anika

Yes. Okay. So the patio doors faced a busy road. Directly across from my patio doors was an entrance to a neighborhood and it had a stop sign there. Coincidentally, when I moved in, I voiced my concerns about being across the stop sign and my fear of a car driving through or an accident. The apartment lady, kind of, said, “Oh, well, what are the odds?”

 

Scott

Didn’t she say it had happened once before?

 

Anika

Yes, a very long time ago. “So what are the odds?” She basically brushed it off.

 

Scott

When she was telling you that – when it happened before – was it your apartment?

 

Anika

I think I remember her telling me that it was the apartment next to mine that had the issue – that had the accident.

 

Scott

Yeah, I mean it is a concern. I mean, people come out of that neighborhood. Of course, if it’s a neighborhood, they shouldn’t be coming at a high speed to a stop sign. But still, it’s a car that’s coming in your direction and you’re counting on that driver to stop at the stop sign.

 

Anika

Exactly.

 

Scott

I could see where it would be a little bit of a concern,

 

Anika

Yes. It made me very nervous.

 

Scott

This was a Friday night and you had just picked the girls up from daycare. Can you just take us through what happened?

 

Anika

I had picked them up from daycare. I had been on the phone with my best friend and we were going to have a little hangout at my house, so I stopped off at the store to get a couple of things for dinner, head home, and wait for her to come over and hang out. Most nights, we would just be in the living room until bedtime because I had my TV out there and the living room was big enough that the girls could rip and run the way they wanted to and I could keep an eye on both of them. We could just kind of play and spend time with one another until it was bedtime.

 

This night was different because my youngest was very sleepy and she was the type to put herself to bed when she was tired. I could tell she was tired, so I went ahead and put her in her crib so that she could go ahead and go to sleep for the night because she would’ve stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

 

Arrie was in my room relaxing and watching TV as I was getting ready to put some food on the stove and, kind of, chat some more with my best friend until she came over. I was making a stir fry that I had wanted and just some little snacks, I guess. But yeah, stir fry – very simple at that time. I needed something quick and easy.

 

Scott

Quick and easy, but I bet the place smelled good though.

 

Anika

Oh yeah, it definitely did. It was fantastic. I was cooking and I had opened the blinds to the sliding glass doors. I always did that when I got home and I would just stand, look, and stare out of the road and watch the cars go by if I was on the phone. I had done that when I came home. I got the food on the stove, walked back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room area, and looked out the glass doors. As I was on the phone with my best friend, I was just kind of keeping an ear out for either of the girls in case the baby woke up or my oldest needed something – something like that.

 

I was walking back and forth on the phone with Anna and I kind of stopped in front of the glass doors and saw that an SUV was coming up to the stop sign from inside the neighborhood. I didn’t really think that much of it – this is something that happens every single day. So I was going back and forth checking on the food. The next time I came in front of the glass doors, I stood and stopped for a moment, watched the SUV, and I noticed that they didn’t seem like they were gonna slow down as they approached the stop sign. So I was thinking, “Oh wow, they’re going a little bit fast to be approaching a stop sign. Whatever.” I continued talking. Then, I noticed that it’s almost as though they sped up as they were approaching the stop sign, and I thought – something just told me – “Oh my gosh, she’s coming in here. You need to get back.” I firmly believe that that was God telling me to get out of the way. So, I took maybe 2 steps back from in front of the glass doors and into the kitchen area. As soon as I did, she came crashing through.

 

I still can hear how loud the sounds were of this car just barreling through because, at the speed she was going, she had to go up on a curb, she had to crash through the fence that enclosed my patio, through the sliding glass doors, and through my dining room table that was in the dining room. So, all of those sounds at once – it felt like a tornado had whipped through. There was so much wind. There were things flying. I could feel glass particles and things like that, kind of, hitting me in the face. Worst sound ever. I will never forget that. The sound of that car driving through there – that horrible sound. I was still on the phone with Anna, of course, and I just screamed. “Someone just drove into my apartment! Please get here!” And I just talked to my phone. I didn’t even know what to think at that point. I was terrified.

 

Scott

You said you felt the little shards of glass hitting you. Was that from the sliding glass door or was there some other source of shattered glass?

 

Anika

I’m assuming It’s definitely from the sliding glass doors. My dining room table was also glass, so it’s definitely coming from both of those – I’m assuming. I also had a fish bowl in the middle of the dining room table, so that got the ax as she blew through.

 

Scott

Mr. Fish did not survive this?

 

Anika

No, Mr. Fish did not survive. I had literally just bought that fish the day before this occurred, so that was very sad.

 

Scott

Was the car coming right in front of you or to your side? How far were you from where the car came in?

 

Anika

I would say not more than 2 feet right in front of me. I literally took 2 steps back.

 

Scott

You would’ve obviously been seriously injured if you had not seen this thing coming.

 

Anika

Yes. In hindsight, that was one of the things that really got to me later on – if I had been standing there and had my back turned to those doors, that probably would’ve been it for me, especially as fast as she was going. I had thrown my phone and it seemed like time was just so slow at that moment because I was looking around. Of course, as a mother, your first instinct is, “Where are my kids? How are my kids?” So I was briefly scanning around the apartment, which wasn’t hard because she had taken out the entire room that connects the living room and my daughter’s room, so I could see straight in.

 

Then, I realized my oldest was screaming and crying for me – I couldn’t see where she was at immediately – and I looked towards my girl’s room and saw that my 1-year-old was still in her crib, but I couldn’t really see the rest of– I just saw her legs at that point and she wasn’t moving, so I knew I had to get to her first. It was then that I kind of took a second to look around me, and saw that everything was demolished. The dining room table was all the way across the living room. The recliners that I had in the living room were by the front door area, just on their sides. The entertainment center that I had was a giant wood entertainment center – super heavy, tall – demolished, gone. I had just bought a new flat-screen TV the day before, and that was demolished. All I saw was the screen part of that just haphazardly on top of rubble – like, wood drywall boards. A lot of glass and a lot of nails were sticking up out of these boards. Things from my girl’s room seem to have been kind of sucked out of their room and into the living room, I’m assuming from the force of wind and all of that. It was like a tornado just, kind of, like, opened up that wall and sucked a couple of their things out into the living room.

 

I knew that I had to get to the baby. I could hear my oldest screaming, so I figured she’s, obviously, I guess, “Okay.” So the next thing I thought was I need to get to the baby. I realized that the car had finally come to a stop. It almost went through the other side of my apartment and into the parking lot, but, It was stopped by the brick. So that’s how you can get an idea of how fast she was actually going because the living room window was shattered. She would’ve gone straight through it had it been any faster, I’m assuming.

 

Scott

So that living room window was on the opposite side of the apartment from where the sliding glass doors were?

 

Anika

Yes. And that was completely shattered.

 

Scott

So she almost went all the way through?

 

Anika

Yes. That’s how fast she was going.

 

Scott

You could see Addison’s legs, but she wasn’t moving. That’s got to be terrifying.

 

Anika

It was. I can’t even describe it, honestly. My brain was just telling me that I needed to get to her immediately no matter what it takes. I’m sure the moms out there can tell you exactly how absolutely terrifying it is. I don’t think words can really describe it as a mother. It’s unlike anything.

 

Scott

You’ve got all this rubble and you’ve got a car – not just a car, but an SUV – in your living room. Were you able to get to her?

 

Anika

I was starting to get to her. I had turned first to see if the people in the SUV were getting out because they hadn’t gotten out of the vehicle. At that point, rage was kind of setting in a little bit. So I started to walk over– I say “walk”, but I guess I shuffled over some of the debris to get to my youngest. She sat up in her crib and she had drywall and debris all over her. She sat up and, kind of, looked at me, like, “Hey, I was napping.” She had no clue what had just happened. She was just wondering why she got woken up from her nap.

 

Scott

Yeah. That’s kind of annoying.

 

Anika

Yeah. She wasn’t impressed. So immediately, that relief set in for me – “Okay, she’s up. She’s okay. I could see her. She was covered in drywall, dust, and whatever else, but I could see that she wasn’t bleeding. She was okay, surface-wise. It was then that genuine rage set in for me. I was incredibly angry.

 

Scott

Because at that point, you knew the girls had survived this because you could see Addison – she was up – and, at least, you could hear Arrie yelling in the other room or something. What did you see about Arrie at that point?

 

Anika

Yeah. I could hear her screaming, but I couldn’t see her. I noticed that she was pinned behind a little slab of the wall that connected the dining room to my room, and the only thing left of that wall, kind of, was my door to my room. It had been knocked off of its hinges so badly that it was kind of wedged into the carpet. She was behind that door and in between the dining room wall, just wedged there in a little pocket. People say that miracles don’t happen or God doesn’t exist. That was God. For her to be standing there like that untouched, I knew that she was okay for that time, even though I couldn’t see her. She was screaming, so she’s there.

 

Scott

You still had this car in your living room with people in it? Were they starting to get out or what?

 

Anika

Yes. They were not getting out and this really pissed me off. At that moment, I was wondering why hadn’t they gotten out and asked if we were okay. Obviously, I was being selfish at that moment and not thinking, “Hey, are they okay?” All I could see was, “This person drove through my living room. They could have killed me and my kids and they’re not getting out of their vehicle.” I remember approaching the driver’s side and screaming for them to get out and banging on the driver’s side window, but they just sat there. In hindsight, they were probably in shock but, at that point in time, I wasn’t thinking like that.

 

So I got even more angry that they were just sitting there. I was banging on the driver’s side door, telling them to get out, and asking them, “What’s wrong with you?!” Every other 4-letter word was probably coming out of my mouth at that point in time. They still weren’t getting out and I ended up punching the driver’s side window just out of pure anger. Right when I did it, I heard something. I felt something snap in my hand and I figured, “Okay, well I just broke something.” Obviously, I didn’t care. I wasn’t feeling any pain. I just felt the snap. I just knew that I wanted these people out of the car so that I could get to them. I didn’t break the window, obviously, but that’s kind of where I was at that point.

 

Scott

Yeah. When you’ve got so much adrenaline going through, you don’t feel that pain like you would, normally.

 

Anika

No, nothing. Just felt the snap and that was it.

 

Scott

You couldn’t call 911 because you threw your phone somewhere or did you know where your phone was?

 

Anika

Oh no, I didn’t. No clue. I had just thrown it to the left and hadn’t even thought about it at that point. At that point, I just knew I was wasting time trying to get these people out of their vehicle. Let me just start getting to my kids. I wasn’t looking down or anything. I had that tunnel vision view – just let me get to my child. I was, kind of, stumbling because these heaps of debris and everything were pretty tall.

 

I just heard a voice out of nowhere, “Ma’am, ma’am, over here.” I turned and there were 2 teenage boys. One of them had their hand out and was waving for me to come toward him. I told him, “I need to get to my daughter first.” He said, “Ma’am, you don’t have any shoes on. Your feet are bleeding.” That’s when I looked down and realized that I kind of had cuts on my feet. My feet were bleeding, but I wasn’t feeling that at that point in time. I would’ve told you that I was wearing shoes had I not looked down – I had totally forgotten. I said, “I need to get to my daughter,” and shuffled over. It felt like walking through– like, when you’re in the ocean and there’s a bunch of seaweed wrapped all over your legs and things like that. It’s like you’re just trudging. That’s what it felt like. It felt like I just couldn’t get there at the speed that I wanted to get there. It was very frustrating.

 

Eventually, I did. I grabbed Addison and proceeded to turn back so that I could get to where the boys were. I realized that I was stumbling a little bit too much. I was very shaky at that point. I saw how many nails were sticking up through these boards and how much glass there was, and realized, “I need to hand off my daughter to one of these boys so that they can take her safely because I didn’t want to fall with her in my arms and have something injure her.” So I handed off my daughter to one of the boys who was on the phone calling 911 for me, and I allowed the other teen boy to grab my hand and I said, “I need to get to my other daughter first, please.”

 

There was a little bit of a pathway for me to get to Arrie. I got to her. She was untouched. She didn’t have any cuts or bruises – nothing. She was just pinned in that little pocket, scared to death. I reached her and was like, “Okay. I’ve got my kids. I’ve got my kids.” I think my head was just spinning at that point. I was still trying to figure out if I was dreaming or if it was real. It was like this weird dream state that you’re in when something like that happens. You’re kind of touching yourself, looking around, and just, “Is this happening right now?” That’s the feeling that I had. Like, I just couldn’t grasp the moment. It was unreal – that feeling.

 

Scott

These boys that stopped to help– were they from the neighborhood? Did you know them?

 

Anika

No, I had never seen them. I was assuming that they had seen what happened and were the first people to run over as quickly as they had gotten there. They are a-OK in my book – 2 teens. You wouldn’t really expect them to immediately spring into action and help someone, even an adult.

 

Scott

If you see something like that happen, some adults would not go toward that situation. They would run away because, when you walk into that apartment, there could be dead bodies there. Some people just can’t handle that or they wouldn’t know how to deal with it, but these guys ran up and wanted to help. That’s quite a thing.

 

Anika

Yeah, it was amazing. Honestly, I am so grateful to them for that. My room was the only room that didn’t have a bunch of debris or wasn’t compromised. We were sitting on the bed. First responders showed up and they were asking me all these questions. They asked me what my apartment number was, and I couldn’t even tell them. I was so frazzled. I couldn’t even tell them where I lived – nothing. I just said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” And they said, “Okay. It’s fine.”

 

Scott

Do you have any idea why they were asking you that? Because they were already there…

 

Anika

I don’t know, honestly.

 

Scott

Maybe they had to direct EMS there or something?

 

Anika

Maybe it was for the ambulance. I don’t know. I thought it was very weird myself, but I couldn’t tell them. I didn’t even know my name at that point. They were asking me –  I couldn’t even remember – a whole slew of questions and my brain was swimming. They eventually said that we needed to go ahead and exit the apartment because the support beams in the living room were compromised and they weren’t sure if there was gonna be any kind of collapsing or issues with that, so they wanted to get us completely out of the apartment, just to be safe, and have us checked out, obviously, when EMS got there.

 

Scott

Obviously, you were on the first floor, but there were apartments above yours?

 

Anika

Yes. Apartments above and next to me.

 

Scott

So there would be concern about the people in those places as well if the whole building collapsed, somehow.

 

Anika

Yes. I remember they did have to have the lady directly above me temporarily leave her apartment so they could make sure that they secured support beams and things like that, so that there was no collapsing for her. We made it outside. By that point, there was a sea of people just, kind of, gathered outside and on the sidewalk. Cars were just whizzing by and I was still just trying to figure out if this is really happening. Anna showed up and I just kind of lost it a little bit. It was good to see a friendly face.

 

Everybody up until this point was strangers. I hadn’t really let go of any emotion at that point either. I was just in that “mama bear” mode – making sure I take care of my kids and just get out of there. So she showed up. People were asking questions of each other. I remember people weren’t realizing that it was my apartment. As more people started showing up and questioning each other, I remember telling someone, like, “This is my apartment. It’s me. I’m the person that this happened to.” And people started coming over and trying to comfort me. I thought it was really awesome to see people – who didn’t know me at all – coming together and just, kind of, reassuring me like, “Hey, it’s gonna be okay. You guys are okay. Stuff can be replaced. You guys can’t.” They just kept telling me because I started to realize at that point, like, “We don’t have anything now. All of our stuff is ruined. We have nothing.” So that was kind of setting in for me at that point, but people just kept telling me, “Stuff can be replaced. It’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.”

 

Eventually, at one point, as we were standing there, a news crew showed up. I wasn’t paying any attention to that. I felt like I had tunnel vision and my hearing was just not even. I was flustered, so I didn’t notice that they had shown up. Anna was the one that noticed and she said, “Hey, you need to come over here and tell them what happened.” So, I went over to the news crew and they kind of asked me a few questions. I don’t even remember, honestly, Scott, what I even said. It was probably a bunch of jumbled nonsense at that point. I couldn’t tell you what I said.

 

Scott

Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch the video?

 

Anika

Oh my gosh. I wish so bad because, later on, my dad mentioned that a coworker had seen me on the news. I looked and searched for weeks after to see if I could get any kind of clip and I never found one. I would just really be interested to see, like, what I said and how I was acting because, at that point, I was still pretty angry at the driver as well.

 

Scott

Talking about the driver, they eventually got out of the car, right?

 

Anika

Yeah. The first responders still had them, kind of, exiting the apartment. When I saw them get out of the vehicle and kind of come out, I just lost it. I wanted to know why they did this. I started screaming obscenities. I’m pretty sure I said something like, “I will kill you!!” It was rough. I was very angry. I don’t know what it was. Like, a switch flipped when they got out of their vehicle and I saw that they were okay, and all of our stuff is gone and we have nothing now. That was it for me. I remember a lady standing next to me and trying to calm me down. She just said, “Your stuff can be replaced. It’s gonna be okay.” And I just wasn’t hearing it. I wanted to get at that driver. If there hadn’t been people there, I can guarantee you that I would’ve done some damage, most definitely.

 

Scott

When you saw that woman, did she appear drunk or disoriented? Obviously, disoriented – yes, but–

 

Anika

Yes, she was disoriented. She was just, kind of, standing there. In hindsight, obviously, she was in shock. She was just, kind of, standing there. I guess what made me even more angry is that she wasn’t coming over and asking me if we were okay. She just stood there just, kind of, looking around. It was weird. It was very weird.

 

Scott

Out of this whole incident, the only injury was your hand.

 

Anika

Right. When the ambulance showed up, they got me and the girls into the ambulance so that they could check us out and everything. Then, as I sat down in the ambulance, I noticed the pain in my hand almost, like, instantaneous. I mean, it was super swollen at that point and the pain was horrible. I told them, “I think something’s broken in my hand. My hand hurts really bad.” They asked, “Did something hit you in the process of the car coming in?” I just flat-out told them, “No. I punched the driver’s side window.” The EMT just kind of looked at me in shock. I think he was kind of scared at that point, like, “Oh, okay.” I didn’t have any shame at that point.

 

Scott

He was thinking, “I don’t want to make her mad.”

 

Anika

Right. I’m almost positive that’s probably what he was thinking. “I’m not even gonna press this lady. I don’t want any of that.” Yeah. He looked fairly young if I remember correctly, so he was probably scared. Poor guy. They asked me if I wanted them to take me to the emergency room to get checked out. At that point, my mom had shown up. I told him that I would get to the emergency room on my own. I just needed to be with my mom. Like, I just wanted my mom – 26 years old and I want my mommy. That’s what I wanted at that point in time. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to be with my mom, so I told him that I would get there on my own, which I did.

 

I went to the ER and the ER doctor seemed to not believe, I guess, that I had a serious injury in my hand because he said that I was typing on my phone at that point in time. I was thinking, “I’m trying to get a hold of family members to let them know what happened and that we’re okay. Can you come help?” and things like that. I was pretty much typing one-handed because that hand was not gonna be able to be used at that point in time. Like, it was just way too painful. So that added to my anger at that point.

 

Scott

Did they do an X-ray to determine what was actually the injury?

 

Anika

Yeah, they did an X-ray. It turned out that when I hit the driver’s side window, it had chipped off a large piece of bone along where your pinky and your palm meet together and connect to your wrist. There was a chunk of bone missing. I don’t even know where the chunk of bone went because we couldn’t find it in the x-ray. They were kind of baffled. It was very visible that there was a large chunk missing and that’s what was causing all of that pain. So it wasn’t broken per se in that sense of the word broken, but there was a large piece just gone.

 

Scott

So there’s really nothing that they could do about that.

 

Anika

No. It had to heal on its own. I think, later, I had a small little cast on it to kind of, I guess, shield it from any further injury, but that’s about it. I mean, they can’t do anything about that.

 

Scott

So what do you do now that you’ve got no place to live?

 

Anika

That was a rough realization. We got back to my apartment complex. They had a model apartment that was fully furnished, so they offered for me to stay there until we could get into just another same-sized apartment in the same complex as I was working out everything with the insurance because, at that point, it’s about taking pictures of everything, listing everything that you’ve lost, and contacting the insurance of the vehicle owner for all of that.

 

Scott

Right. Because that’s who would have to pay for everything.

 

Anika

Right. So basically, that was what I spent the next couple of days doing – taking all of the pictures and listing everything. They wanted an itemized list of every single thing that was destroyed for compensation purposes, so that’s what I did for the next couple of days until my apartment offered to move us into another unit that was the exact same as what we were in. They wanted to charge me a hundred dollars more in rent for it, which I thought was just the icing on the cake for the shit show. That whole entire deal wasn’t our fault, so that was rough.

 

Scott

Did the driver’s insurance come through and pay everything?

 

Anika

It was rough dealing with the insurance company because, of course, they don’t want to. They want to pay out as little as possible. They want to nickel and dime you down to the very cent so that they don’t have to fork out as much money. But in the end, I ended up going back and forth with them. At first, they only wanted to offer me, like, $3,000 to $4,000 for everything, which is obnoxious, considering we had literally nothing after that. So, after a brief phone conversation with them, I just simply told them, “You know what? That’s fine. I will have my lawyer contact you and we can discuss things further.” And I hung up in their face and, five minutes later, they called right back with a much larger number and I said, “Yes, that will work this time. Thank you.”

 

Scott

Did you miss any of your college classes?

 

Anika

I am not a quitter. I’m a go-getter and I’m very hard on myself when it comes to education, schooling, and that kind of thing. This was my first semester in my undergrad, so I was not going to go out like that. My professors actually offered to let me turn in my assignments whenever I could. They encouraged me to go ahead and drop my courses for that semester. They felt that it would be completely understandable if that’s what I wanted to do. I declined because I wanted to finish out that semester. I wasn’t gonna let this be something that held me back from succeeding in the goal that I wanted to succeed in my education, so I decided to stay in for that semester and I ended up with a 3.8 GPA at the end of that semester. So that is something I hold very dear to me and something I frequently tell my girls about, that you can still do it.

 

I was not gonna give up. I was a little handicapped with my hand, but I still showed up to my classes. I still turned in my work and that was the result of that, so I’m super proud of myself even now for getting through that because I could have just given up. I could have just said, “I’ll take the rest of the semester off. It’s fine. I have an excuse.” But I’m not like that. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not like that.

 

Scott

And your girls know they’re never gonna have any excuse that matches what yours would’ve been.

 

Anika

Oh, no, sir. Absolutely not. No, I don’t play that, and my girls know that. I’ve raised them that way. Hopefully, I’ll see the fruits of my labor as they grow and get older, but we always look back on this story and I just tell them, “If it had been any other normal day, we would just have been in the living room like we usually were, I don’t think that we would’ve been here today. There’s no way that we would’ve come out of it, especially with as fast as she was going.

 

Scott

There are so many scenarios. You could have all been sitting at that glass dining room table, or you could have been hit and the girls could have been fine, but now they don’t have a mother. I mean, you had to have gone through all of those possibilities in your head.

 

Anika

Yeah, and that was one of the things that hit me like a ton of bricks that night. After I had gotten the girls down to sleep, I got in the shower and I just lost it. I just broke down sobbing because I realized what we could have lost, how things could have ended up, and it just broke me. I couldn’t believe that we were okay and all that happened was I had a bone fracture, but we were okay. My girls were not injured – not a scratch on them, nothing. Yes, they were traumatized at that point, but I’ll take that over having a funeral for one of them or for myself or all of us, and that hit me so hard that night. I think I cried for about 15 minutes just in the shower with that weight on me.

 

I think that was the roughest part of it because, at that point, the adrenaline has worn off. Of course, I was in a lot of pain as I was washing my face. There were glass particles embedded in my skin and my face, so it was super painful to wash my face and my feet. Also, glass shards were on my feet for several days after that and it was just unreal. Even going back into the apartment the next day to take all of the pictures was rough – because we had to take a bunch of pictures for the insurance. Anna came and helped me with that.

 

I remember the insurance adjuster coming in and I warned her beforehand, “You may want to wear some type of close-toed shoes or boots because there’s a lot of debris, nails, and glass.” When she showed up, she took one look around the apartment and said, “Oh wow. Well, it’s a good thing you guys weren’t here, right?” I said, “No, we were.” And she was shocked – like, her jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe that we were actually present. I couldn’t even still believe it walking around, taking all of the pictures, seeing that mass destruction, looking at my daughter’s crib, and looking at Arrie’s bed – where she could have possibly been laying – turned over and had debris on it. She could have been in that bed.

 

So going through and taking all of these pictures was very rough. That was a doozy as well. Even in the kitchen– I guess the fireman had come in because the food was still cooking when the car drove in. I didn’t have time, obviously, to take the food off of the stove, so the pan was completely charred and burned. I don’t know if it had, maybe, caught fire. It looked like it had in the short amount of time because it was just, kind of, thrown in the sink, completely charred and black. Seeing that too was, like, “Wow.”

 

Scott

Yeah. To have a fire on top of all that… Okay. Here’s the big question. I’m wondering why did this driver ended up crashing into your place?

 

Anika

Oh my gosh. She told the first responders and the police that she had blacked out, and that’s why she crashed. I found that odd because it was 6 o’clock at night. What were you blacking out from? When you think of blacking out, you think of alcohol or drugs. That was my first thought, but they didn’t do a field sobriety test on her. All she got was a ticket for running the stop sign. I got a subpoena a few weeks later to appear in court for that because she was trying to contest it and say that she didn’t run the stop sign. I showed up to court for that and was waiting to be let into the courtroom, and I looked up and saw her enter the courthouse. As soon as she saw me, she turned heel and left. She didn’t come back in.

 

Scott

She thought, “I’m not winning this case.”

 

Anika

Yeah, she knew. We made eye contact. A) She knew that she wasn’t gonna win because I had shown up. B) She might fuck around and find out because I probably would’ve laid hands on her – sorry, mom, for the curse word, but I probably would’ve laid hands on her at that point. So I’m sure it was a mix of those things. She didn’t want to lose her life that day and she didn’t want to lose in court because I was definitely gonna get up there and tell them what happened.

 

Scott

It’s better for both of you that she left because it would’ve caused a whole lot more headache for you if you had gotten into a fight in the courthouse.

 

Anika

Oh gosh, yes. I definitely didn’t want to leave my girls high and dry with a mom wearing an orange jumpsuit, so it was better that she skedaddled out of there. I ended up leaving as well. There was no way I was gonna stay. It was just gonna get dismissed either way. I had already taken off work for that day, so if she’s not staying, I’m not staying. So I left.

 

Scott

Fast forward to today. How old are your girls now and how’s everybody doing?

 

Anika

Fast forward to today, I have a husband that I met in 2019. We got married. He’s been awesome for the girls. Arrie is 15. Addison is 12 and soon to be 13. They are thriving wonderfully in school and they have a lot of their mom in them, so I know they’re good. Of course, Addison doesn’t remember anything about that. Arrie remembers very little. She just remembers being very scared because, after that, they had a bit of PTSD and couldn’t sleep that well for the first couple of weeks after they had nightmares and would wake up. Of course, I made sure that the next apartment that we moved into was upstairs and not near a busy road.

 

Scott

Do you still live in that area?

 

Anika

Yes.

 

Scott

Have you ever seen that place?

 

Anika

I drive by it every single day, Scott.

 

Scott

Have you ever thought about stopping and talking to the people that live there and saying, “Hey, you might want to keep an eye out this back door here”?

 

Anika

I thought about doing that, actually, after everything happened, but I thought, “Let me not scare these people into moving out of their apartment.” But I noticed that, after our incident, there is a big rock in front of that patio area. There is a giant rock there. So, if somebody else decides they want to blow through a stop sign, they’re gonna crash into that instead of the actual apartment.

 

Scott

If you want to see pictures of the inside of the apartment after it was demolished by that car, as well as pictures of Anika and her girls, you can see all of that in the show notes for this episode, at WhatWasThatLike.com/130. And of course you can also read the full transcript of this episode there.

 

I wanted to let you know about a minor change that you might notice coming up in future episodes. I’m about to change to a different media host and ad agency – this is the company that handles the ads and ad placement in the podcast. Currently, I usually have couple of ads during my conversation with the guest, and maybe one just before that. Each of those is usually like a minute and a half to two minutes, which is actually kind of long for an individual ad. Going forward, it will probably be two different ads at each ad break, but they’ll be shorter. So it might seem like you’re hearing more ads, because there’s gonna be different sponsors, but still the overall time should be about the same. I just wanted to let you know so you understand what’s going on. And of course, you can always get the new episodes without ANY ads, if you want to sign up to support the podcast.

 

And you know what else you get as a supporter, for $5 a month? You get all the exclusive episodes of Raw Audio. These are 911 calls and the stories that go with them. In fact, Raw Audio episode 30 was just released. In this episode, a man stops taking his medication, and gets in a fight with his dad –

 

Male 1

Come lock me up.

 

911 Operator

You said you killed your dad?

 

Male 1

Yeah.

 

911 Operator 

How did you do that?

 

Male 1

With a fucking hammer.

 

Scott

A man calls 911 and invites the police to come and get him –

 

911 Operator 

Where’s your gun right now? My officers want to know.

 

Male 2

It’s on top of my tailgate, right by my right hand.

 

911 Operator 

Okay.

 

Male 2

And I am right-handed.

 

Scott

And a woman calls from her car, because she’s being followed –

 

Female 1

I’m on Cypress right now.

 

911 Operator 

Okay. And he’s still behind you?

 

Female 1

Yeah. I’ve been making turns and he’s been following me. Every time I turned, he followed me.

 

Scott

You can get that full episode, and you can binge all 29 previous episodes, by signing up to support the podcast at WhatWasThatLike.com/support.

 

And, I have to mention another review that has a little misunderstanding. I recently saw this review from a user named USA Mknitter – it says:

I like your podcast – you have great stories. I don’t like Facebook and other forms of social media, and am not a member of any of them. I am disappointed that one has to be a member of Facebook to see photos or any other information. I have listened to you a couple of years but gave you 4 stars out of 5 because of the Facebook.

 

Mknitter, this is not true! I’m really glad you’re a long time listener to the show, but you definitely don’t need to be on Facebook to see all the pictures and other information from each episode. You can get all of that at the podcast website, which is at WhatWasThatLike.com. And for a specific episode, you just add a slash and the episode number. For example, today’s episode is number 130. So you would just go to WhatWasThatLike.com/130. It’s all there, no Facebook required!

 

Of course, if you want to join in the conversation with other podcast listeners to talk about an episode or other things, THAT’S when you need to be in the podcast Facebook group. There’s something like 4500 people in that group. Anyone can join at WhatWasThatLike.com/facebook.

 

This episode was produced and edited by me. Graphics for this episode were created by Bob Bretz. Episode transcription was created by James Lai. And I highly recommend both of them if you need those services.

 

And now, this week’s Listener Story! This is your reward for listening all the way to the end of the episode, because we always end with a story that was sent in by a listener. If you have an interesting story you can tell in about 5 to 10 minutes, record it on your phone and email it to me – Scott@WhatWasThatLike.com.

 

Stay safe, and I’ll see you in two weeks.

 

Rachel

Hi Scott. My name is Rachel. I just wanted to call and thank you for all the wonderful work you do. I love the show. I love all the interesting stories. I just wanted to call and share one of my stories from when I was 2 years old – this is one of my first memories. I was 2 years old – almost 3. My brother and I decided we were going to go sledding on a cold, snowy day and decided the perfect place was this school across the street that had some little hills behind it. So we headed over there.

 

In the parking lot, there were a few cars coming and going because there were some basketball games going on that particular day. It was a Saturday, so it was REC league basketball games. As we were walking through the parking lot, all of a sudden, I was knocked and pinned down to the ground. I had no idea what had happened, but a truck had been pulling out of a parking space and didn’t see my little tiny person, and ran me over – I was two years old. This truck had backed up over me. Then, my brother started to scream, “Bloody murder! You killed my sister! You killed my sister!” And the truck driver stopped.

 

Seeing and hearing my brother, the driver got scared and didn’t know what to do, so he pulled back forward. Well, the truck knocked me down onto my belly. The tire went up my leg, onto my back, and then he stopped and pulled forward again. So the tire went back down my back and down my leg again. But if he had kept going, he could have possibly run over my head. So what ended up happening was probably better.

 

So, an ambulance was called and I was taken to a small local hospital a few minutes away. We just lived in a small town. This rural hospital just said, “We are not equipped to care for her injuries,” so they Life-Flighted me. I remember taking off in that helicopter. They Life-Flighted me to a children’s hospital in the nearby big city. There, they discovered that I had no broken bones, miraculously – kids that age are kind of rubbery anyway. So I had no broken bones, but I was internally bleeding. I had what they called a “cracked liver”. My doctor was a very good doctor and he said, “The liver is a very resilient organ. If she could just hold still for a few weeks, I bet it will heal itself and we won’t have to do surgery.” So, not an easy task for a 2-year-old to hold still for a few weeks.

 

I was in the hospital for 10 days. Then, when I returned home, my parents had set up just a steady stream of entertainment – movies, books, friends, neighbors, and family coming in to play with me and to read stories to me. Tons of people brought toys and activities, coloring books, and all kinds of things just to keep me entertained and still so that I could heal. I recovered fully and I haven’t had any lasting effects. Physically, I have been great my whole life.

 

Surprisingly, although this was one of my first memories, I haven’t been very traumatized by it. I think I was so young that I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of it. But now, as a mother, my heart just breaks for my parents – what they must have gone through. Anytime I hear of a child getting hit by a car or run over by a car, oh, I’d try to reach out to them, try to reach out to the family, and try to give them some hope because it turned out so well for me and I feel very, very blessed. Someone was definitely looking out for me and I’m so grateful for that because it’s been a wonderful life and it could have been cut very short.