‘It was very traumatizing’: Modesto couple speaks out after multi-vehicle crash

Local News

MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A Modesto couple is speaking out after surviving a multi-vehicle crash Sunday.

“This is happening. Like, I have to go with it. I have no choice,” said Ashley Stilwell, describing what happened moments after a speeding Infiniti sedan struck her car.

Stilwell and California Highway Patrol officers say that the Infiniti driver was racing a BMW going north on Highway 99 just before Crows Landing on Sunday evening.

“Being smooshed in between two vehicles and then being out of control, it was scary,” Stillwell recalled. “It was very traumatizing.”

Stilwell’s fiance Zachary Fisher was driving ahead of Stilwell and watched through his rearview mirror as the Infiniti cut in between another car and her blue Toyota Camry.

“It hit her, caused a spinning effect between four cars, one of them resulting in flying off the viaduct into the homeless encampment down there. And then the car caught fire,” Fisher recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I stopped what I’m doing. The guy who caused it was right behind me. And he sped off and went down the viaduct. And the people that CHP’s are looking for, he sped off.” 

Officers arrested the driver of the Infiniti but are asking the public for help in identifying the other driver of a silver BMW sedan.

CHP says that when looking at all the aftermath and damage to Stilwell’s car, it’s hard to imagine anyone survived but everyone did.

“I’m thankful to be alive. And to be here,” Stillwell said.

Fisher said everyone around him stopped to help and three to four people experiencing homelessness rescued an infant and toddler out of another vehicle involved, an SUV that went over the freeway.

Fisher said he takes nothing for granted.

“Even Taco Bell. Man, even Taco Bell tastes so much better right now cause I’m alive. That’s the way I look at it,” Fisher said. “God was watching over all of us that day.” 

The couple said they’re not mad at the drivers but hope they realize the bad decision they made to race down the freeway and hope they never do it again.

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