On Hurricane Ida’s anniversary, teen remembers road washout that almost killed her
GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - It happened in the dead of night hours after Hurricane Ida made landfall -- a major thoroughfare collapsing, sending vehicles plowing into a deep ravine, piling up like dominos.
Two people died, nearly a dozen were hurt and three were in critical condition.
Ida dumped more than 14 inches of rain on George County causing the road to wash out from underneath.
First responders called it a scene unlike any other as vehicles were slowly pulled out of a 20-foot deep hole swallowing part of Highway 26.
Alerts over the police scanner sent more than 100 first responders scrambling into action. As for the drivers trapped at the bottom of the dark pit, there was nothing to do but wait for help to come.
“I ended up breaking almost every single bone in my body, all of my organs were out of whack because my seatbelt cut my stomach open,” survivor Layla Jamison said.
Layla was a 17-year-old George County High School student when the crash happened. She was one of the critically injured victims.
“I remember screaming for help,” Jamison said. “My parents are going to be so worried. I didn’t realize during the moment that I had sustained so many injuries to my body.”
Layla underwent multiple surgeries for broken arm, leg and back bones along with many internal injuries.
Now, driving on the stretch running from Alabama to Louisiana is like a recurring nightmare for the teenager.
“I did panic a little bit at night the first time and also when the weather is bad, but I struggle with anxiety during bad weather anytime now,” Jamison said.
There’s triumph through it all, though, as Layla stood from her wheelchair to receive her high school diploma in May.
She has come far on her road to recovery from that fateful night stuck in the abyss.
“I think that’s the reason why I’ve been able to overcome everything is because of my age. I feel like if I were older or if my body was in worse condition, I probably would not have been as lucky as I am,” Jamison said.
That portion of Highway 26 has since been repaired. It only took a few months for crews to make repairs.
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