AMES, Iowa — “I am really grateful,” said Twime Mwakiluma of Belmond. “I thank God for it, because it could have been worse.”
Wednesday afternoon was the first time Twime saw her 2004 Toyota 4Runner since it was involved in a more than 50 vehicle pile up on I-35 in Ames on Monday.
“After I passed exit 113 to get to exit 111, after the bridge, when you go down the hill, that`s when you realize there`s an accident, you know, people are standing still,” said Twime, recounting her experience. “There was nothing you could do, the car was just going.”
Twime, a full-time student in her first semester at Iowa State University, commutes to campus and was on her way to school when the accident happened. Twime remembers the moment of first impact, captured on camera by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
“I had to stop and there was a truck right in front of me,” said Twime. “So, I just made a decision of kind of in a way to go on the side and stop behind the truck, but after I stopped, people kept on coming, so, and there was this I think it was a truck, it came and hit me really hard until the car like spin and facing on the other side.”
It all happened so fast.
“At that moment I couldn`t even see clearly,” said Twime. “It was really scary and the first impact, I couldn`t get out of the car, because I knew it wasn`t safe, so the fact that the second hit, then I knew I had to get out of the car because I knew it would get worse.”
Fortunately, Twime was able to get out.
“I was able to get out because after the car turned facing the other way,” said Twime. “So, it was safer for me because the door faced…it didn`t face the road anymore, it was on the other side, so I just opened and ran.”
On Wednesday, two days after the wreck, Twime showed up at Central Iowa Towing & Recovery in Ames to pick up some things from her car. Seeing the damage up close was shocking for her, because she hadn’t seen it before.
“I just saw it right now,” said Twime. “It`s this bad. I only saw the other side. It`s really scary.”
The accident has Twime asking what if…
“It’s really scary because I could think of different scenarios, you know, what if I had a small car? What if, you know, I thought it in so many ways, but the only thing I can do is just be grateful that I`m alive. That’s pretty much it, and I`m not hurt.”