MORRISONVILLE - Charlena Scroggins considers herself lucky to be alive.
The 19-year-old Plattsburgh woman was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident Aug. 14 on Kent Falls Road. It was one that almost cost her her life, yet one she has a hard time recalling.
"I don't remember much from the day of the accident," said Scroggins. "I remember I was upset because my grandfather had passed away three days before ... I just left the house and got in my car and didn't know where I was heading to. I was just driving."
Scroggins had made it to the end of Kent Falls Road where she parked her car and got out to sit on the banks of the Saranac River. What she does remember is getting back into her car and leaving. After that, her memories are hard to piece together.
"I remember looking at my speedometer then the next thing I know I'm going off the road toward a big pipe," she said.
Scroggins' car struck a pipe off the embankment, leaving her trapped on the side of the road in a place unlikely where motorists would find her.
Fortunately, New York State Police Trooper Shawn Davies was patrolling the area, and came across Scroggins' car an unknown amount of time later.
"I just barely saw the car. I caught the glare out of the corner of my eye," he said.
Davies exited his vehicle and hurried to Scroggins' vehicle, not knowing what to expect.
"As soon as I was walking down to her car, I heard her yell for help," said Davies. "That's when I called for everybody."
Emergency responders from the Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department and Morrisonville Ambulance Service raced to the scene where Scroggins had to be extricated after it was found her leg was trapped on the driver's side of the vehicle, preventing her from escaping. She was then airlifted by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Helicopter to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., where she spent weeks recovering from her injuries.
"When I got out of the hospital I couldn't do anything for myself. I couldn't feed myself, anything," said Scroggins.
However, given the extent of the damage to her vehicle, Davies said he was surprised anyone could have survived the wreck.
"It's amazing," said Davies.
The days and weeks ahead were filled with countless hours of physical therapy sessions, breathing exercises and surgeries.
However, Scroggins was able to recently meet the men and women directly involved with her rescue - from rescuers to dispatchers and even the wrecker service that removed her vehicle - walking into the Morrisonville fire station with a neck brace as the only real visible sign she had been in a major accident. It was a miracle she even survived, said many of the responders.
"It was one of the most difficult scenes that we had in quite a long time," said Morrisonville Fire Chief Steven P. Brown. "Everyone did a great job."
"I just can't thank them enough," said Scroggins. "I can't even put it into words. I wouldn't have my life if it wasn't for them."
"I've tried to write letters thanking everyone for everything but I can't find the words," said her father, Glenn. "What they've done means more than I could ever tell them."
No thanks were necessary, they said.
"The fact she was able to walk through the door here is the only thanks we need," said EMS Captain Kent Faus. "That's what it's all about."
Though Scroggins was there to thank her rescuers, she was given her own token of appreciation - an honorary membership of the two departments.