MARYSVILLE — As the red car barreled toward her, Cathy Apgar closed her eyes and aimed her Nissan Leaf for the ditch on her right.
“I’m sure I heard crunching, and I felt a poof on my face,” she said. “Then I yelled, ‘Help! Help!’ and, ‘Call 911, call 911!’”
When she opened her eyes, the front right corner of her car was smashed in around her. Strangers were asking if she and her children were OK.
Cathy Apgar, 40, of Marysville, and three of her five kids were southbound on Highway 9 after a trip to Stanwood for school supplies when they were hit head-on by a suspected drunken driver.
All four had to be hospitalized. The other driver died in the Aug. 30 crash.
Apgar suffered broken bones in her neck and cuts from the smashed glass.
“It’s just amazing to think about,” she said. “We know that we’re here as a miracle. It was totally God.”
Her 2-year-old foster son was the least injured, with friction burns from his seat belt.
Her 7-year-old foster son suffered multiple broken bones. And her 15-year-old daughter was covered in bruises, had a bloody nose and needed staples for a head injury. Both are back in school.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by Arlington police. Laboratory test results will take weeks.
The family is praying for the other driver, Jesus Isidoro-Sandoval, 26, of Arlington. And they keep thinking about all the little things that added up in their favor that day.
Apgar’s daughter had been reading with her feet up. When she felt the car veer, she put her legs down, likely saving herself from more severe injuries.
The boys were in their car seats. Their aunt is a car-seat safety specialist and trained the family on how best to install child seats.
The kids’ restraints were perfect, according to Arlington emergency crews who rushed them to the hospital.
“Absolutely, those car seats were installed to the T,” city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said. “They really helped those kids from having any further injuries.”
In addition, husband Kevin Apgar was supposed to take their year-old car to work that day, but the Leaf is electric, and he forgot to plug it in. Instead, they switched vehicles for the day, since the Leaf wasn’t charged that morning.
Police told the family that the newer, safer car likely helped protect them.
The family is thankful for all the help they’ve received since the crash from friends, family and their church, Smokey Point Community Church. People brought food and helped with the kids.
“The amazing thing is my family is taking care of me,” Apgar said. “Everyone around here, including family and friends, are momming a mom.”
She also is deeply grateful to the passersby who came to their aid at the scene. She doesn’t know their names. They called her husband for her. They told her that if she and her kids could talk, they probably were alright.
“There are so many people who helped out who didn’t have to,” she said. “We feel just incredibly blessed, by not only being here, but also seeing people and God in action, loving people that they don’t even know.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.