“There is no doubt they saved my life,” Lisa Angrisano said. “I have a new beginning that God has blessed me with.”
Angrisano knows she is blessed to be alive. She also knows there are some good people in this world.
The 38-year-old Odenville woman crashed her car on Sunday, April 29, on Interstate 20 between the Eden and Chula Vista exits. She said one of her tires had a blowout.
Angrisano remembers nothing about the accident except hearing a loud noise, and being scared.
Family members say the accident happened between 10 p.m. and midnight.
Angrisano was not found until the next morning — about 10 hours later.
The two heroes
The two men who found Angrisano were Pell City’s Tim Neely and his stepfather, Herman Krack.
Neely and Krack, were traveling west on Interstate 20 the morning of April 30. They were headed to work in Trussville. Between the Eden and Chula Vista exits, Neely noticed a vehicle off the interstate, down in a ravine.
“I told my dad we needed to turn around and go back,” Neely said.
The Good Samaritans turned around, went to the Eden exit, and got back on I-20 headed west. Krack pulled over where Neely, 29, had spotted the vehicle.
Neely ran down to the vehicle, which he said was a red SUV, but found no one in it.
“I yelled at my dad, and that’s when I heard someone cry for help,” Neely said.
He said it scared him to death to hear that cry for help, but knew he had to do something.
“When I heard the lady cry out, I yelled back at her and told her to keep crying out so I could find her,” Neely said. “I found her lying in a ditch, sort of covered up in weeds. She was not visible. I yelled at my dad and told him to call 911. She kept asking me not to let her die. She held my hand.”
Neely said he was not expecting to find anyone in the ravine.
“There was a little dirt and blood on her,” he said. “She was wearing a tank top and blue jeans, and had no shoes on. Her mouth was chapped badly. You could tell she had been lying in that spot for a while. Once they moved her, you could tell she had lacerations to her back and arm.”
Neely said an ambulance took Angrisano to St. Vincent’s St. Clair.
From there, she was airlifted to University Hospital in Birmingham.
In a coma
Angrisano said she dreamed so much for so long. She said those dreams came while she was in a coma for a month.
When she came out of the coma, the first person she recalls seeing was her 10-year-old daughter, Anna.
“I remember seeing my husband, Tracy, and remember telling him I could not feel my legs,” she said. “I remember seeing my daughter who lives in Tokyo, Japan. She and her husband flew home to be with me.”
Angrisano said the very first conversation she remembers after waking up from the coma was with her daughter.
“She told me that my skin looked better, and that she had missed me,” Angrisano said. “She wanted to know if I remembered her trying to find me. I had a dream about Anna while I was in the coma, that I was on the beach for some reason, and I had gotten hurt. When I saw her, she told me she had to take some time off from school because she and her dad had been trying to find me.”
While in the hospital, Angrisano underwent eight surgeries. Her legs were broken, her collarbones were broken and her spine was severed.
Meeting her two heroes
Neely called every day trying to find out Angrisano’s condition. Once she came out of the coma, Neely and Krack visited her in the hospital.
“Tim reminded me of someone I had dreamed about,” she said. “He told me he wasn’t a hero, but I know he and Herman are. There is no doubt they saved my life.”
Angrisano said for the past three years she has made mistakes and caused a lot of pain out of frustration from being unemployed.
“I felt like a failure,” she said. “Sometimes, even though we do not feel like a hero, we get really busy and people are not like they used to be. If you have a flat tire or run out of gas, people are so scared to stop and help.
“I am so thankful Tim and his dad stopped to help me. They listened to their heart, and took the time to help out someone in need. They made sure my children still had their mother. They are definitely heroes, and they will definitely be rewarded. God will make sure of that.”
Angrisano came home from the hospital May 28.
Although she was given less than a 1 percent chance of ever moving again, Angrisano was able to move both legs from her hospital bed at her Odenville home.
“Each day gets a little better,” she said. “I wasn’t moving like this at all when I was in the hospital. My stepdaughter Krista tickled my feet when I was in the hospital, and I felt it. My toe jumped. My daughters started feeling my feet, and wanted to know if I felt it. When I left the hospital, I could move my toes just a little. I knew I would see my home again because I’m just that stubborn.”
Angrisano said she also knows she will walk again.
“I’ve always been a fighter,” she said. “I told my doctor that when I was born, I was three months premature and weighed 3 pounds and 2 ounces. My fingernails were not developed, and neither were my eyelashes or eyebrows. They gave me a 50-50 chance to survive, but I did.”
Venice McNutt. 81, of Moody is Angrisano’s mother. She said she knows God still has plans for her daughter.
“He sent two angels in pants to find her and get her out of that place alongside the interstate,” McNutt said. “Her life is going to change — as bad as she was injured. I know God had His hand in it. God still performs miracles.”
On Saturday, Neely and Krack visited with Angrisano and her family at her home.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she talked to the two men who saved her life.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.