It all began on a cold January day in 2009. My source, let's call her Alice, was driving back to university with her friend, let's call him Adam. They were heading west through the edge of Illinois, near a small town called Geneseo. They were driving a Jeep Wrangler, owned by Alice, but at the time, being driven by Adam.
There was snow on the road and what began as a slip, turned into a slide, and a long one at that. Before Alice and Adam knew it, they were flipping over and over in the Wrangler. Before they could get their bearings, they found the rolling over but the water was just starting to fill the car. They were now roof-up in a small body of water. They'd broken through a layer of ice and now had water filling the poorly sealed Wrangler. They had to get out.
They knew this as fact, but also knew that the frozen water outside the vehicle wouldn't be much better. But what choice did they have? As they began to attempt an exit, they realized it was going to be a challenge. Doors wouldn't open due to the water outside. Windows, damaged during the rolls, no longer went down. In a strange twist, the poorly sealed Jeep might be their saving grace as they both decided the soft top was their best chance in getting out. With no knife or emergency tool to help, they began punching the soft top. It worked. They found themselves on the truck's roof, standing on the internal roll cage tubing of the Jeep. With the Wrangler continuing to fill with water and sinking, they had to jump in the freezing cold water.
They did. It was freezing cold. They managed to swim towards the now broken ice's edge, but each time they tried to climb up, it broke further. Soon enough, they managed to get proper footing and get out of the water. They had no choice but to run to the highway.
6 cars passed. Cold, wet, possible injuries, and soon to have hypothermia, no one was stopping. And then the Pepsi driver appeared. He knew immediately what was wrong. He told them both to strip. He'd cranked his heater and gotten blankets out. They stripped down, wrapped in blankets and huddled in the back of the truck.
Alice's next memory is waking up in a hospital four days later. She was placed in an induced coma due to her exposure and potential for injuries. She wound up with a shattered collarbone from all the car flips, later determined by Jeep to have been at least 6 complete rolls.
Jeep bought the vehicle from Alice to learn more about their vehicles' breaking points. It's still being studied today. Adam and Alice remain friends and send cards on the accident's anniversary date each year. The Pepsi delivery driver had saved their lives and gotten the emergency vehicles to the right places. He won a driver of the year award, after being nominated by Alice and Adam, who presented the award to him.
Perhaps tomorrow really isn't guaranteed.