NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The son of the driver in Monday's tractor trailer crash at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel said she called him from the dangling cab.
Police say Almira Ribic, 43, lost control of her big rig and found herself looking out the window, scared to look down. Pictures taken by State Police show Ribic in the driver's seat of the cab, as it dangled dangerously close to the water. In one of those pictures, Ribic can be seen on a cell phone, calling her son.
"That's my mom, you know, if I could help her I would," said 24-year-old Amer Ribic, at their Newport News home.
Photos: Truck driver pulled to safety
But Amer could not help his mother. He knew that conversation could be their last. Like many, he received updates from news outlets online.
The truck's position made it difficult for rescue crews to get to Almira. Not to mention, his mother's body weight relied on the support of the badly broken windshield. One wrong move could mean death.
A Suffolk fire truck slowly extended its ladder and a Newport News fire fighter rappelled down. He pulled Ribic from the driver's side window.
"We do want to thank the Newport News Fire Department," said Amer Ribic. "That was really nice and we do owe them a lot. Saving somebody's life is always a big deal, so thank you."
The Ribic family knows Almira could have suffered the same fate as the truck's debris.
Crews did their best to get most of the cab out of the water. They hooked it up to two different cranes and, over a matter of hours, pushed and pulled until it was finally on the road again.
Police charged Ribic with reckless driving. They say she crashed into the right jersey wall and then overcorrected and crashed into the left wall.
For now, her family isn't worried about that. They're just happy she survived the morning commute.
"Thank God," said Amer Ribic. "You have to believe in God. God was on her side this time."
Almira Ribic has only minor injuries. She was treated at the hospital and released a couple hours later.
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