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NJ Mom Who Lost Leg When Car Plowed Into Trader Joe's Store Opens Up About Ordeal

HILLSDALE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A woman who became an amputee after a car crashed into a Westwood, N.J. Trader Joe's store last month is home from the hospital and talking about her ordeal.

As CBS 2's Scott Rapoport reported Friday, Hillsdale resident Ruta Fiorino's story is one of terrible tragedy.

On Nov. 13, an out-of-control Toyota Camry jumped the curb and slammed through a glass window into the front of the Trader Joe's. Fiorino was pinned between the car and a metal cart rack.

"It just happened. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she told Rapoport.

Witnesses said Fiorino's leg was severed and good Samaritans rushed to help tie a tourniquet around her leg to try to stop the bleeding.

Fiorino lost two-thirds of her blood and emergency responders weren't sure if she would survive, Rapoport reported.

The 49-year-old was airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center, but doctors were unable to save her right leg. It was amputated above her knee.

"I cry a lot. Even when it's happy, I cry," Fiorino told Rapoport.

Still, she said she doesn't let the tragedy get her upset.

"It doesn't do any good to be angry," Fiorino said.

Amazingly, she considers herself in some ways lucky, Rapoport reported.

She said she's lucky to be alive and lucky to be back home for the holidays with her husband and three sons.

"They mean everything to me and they know that," said Fiorino.

Fiorino faces new challenges and said she sometimes has dark days. She said getting around is difficult.

"The pain. If there wasn't so much pain I think it would be a lot easier," Fiorino said.

Her community banded together to tie ribbons in her favorite color purple around the neighborhood and place welcome home balloons outside her house.

The Hillsdale Fire Department and other volunteers built and donated a special handicap access ramp for her.

"I'm just a mom in a small town taking care of my family," said Fiorino.

Fiorino said the life-changing accident helped her learn the most precious lesson of all: that every day is a gift.

She said she is going to be fitted for a prosthetic leg in a few weeks.

Fiorino is a ski instructor and said she's looking forward to learning adaptive skiing.

Earlier this month, a driver lost control and plowed into the front of a Long Island Trader Joe's. Fifteen people were injured in that incident.

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