FOLSOM (CBS13) — A teenager who crashed in a snowstorm along Highway 50 is hailing a complete stranger who happened to save her life.
Only CBS13's Anjali Hemphill was there for the emotional reunion between Mattie Alleva and El Dorado County investigator Dave Stevenson—the man she calls her guardian angel.
Alleva and her friend were on their way back from snowboarding when they hit a heavy snowstorm and lost control of the car. along Highway 50 near the town of Strawberry.
"We were only going 35 mph and we just hit ice and started fishtailing," she said.
Alleva now wears a halo, screwed into her head after a car accident broken her neck in two places—an accident that could have left her paralyzed.
In white out conditions, their car veered into oncoming traffic, hit another car and rolled down the embankment.
"I was stuck against the dash, and I was just holding my neck in so much pain," she said.
Seconds later, Stevenson happened to drive on the chaotic scene. He saw the girls' headlights down the hill and rushed to help.
"There was gas leaking," he said. "The girls could smell that and they started to get even more upset."
He managed to pull Alleva out of the car by breaking the windshield. He kept her still and calm until more help arrived.
"I have no words to describe how much I could thank him, because he truly is a hero in my eyes," she said.
She spent several days in the hospital, but even her doctors are shocked she's back up and walking already, and even in her halo, Alleva credits Stevenson for being her guardian angel.
"It can bring a tear to your eye when you see a young girl like that with so much offer and so much to give, and she's going to have a second chance at doing that," Stevenson said.
Alleva will have to wear her halo for about three months. Her friend that was with her walked away from the crash with just bumps and bruises.
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