A Navy veteran who works as an emergency room nurse is herself recovering in the hospital after being struck while trying to help motorists hit by another car on the 10 Freeway outside Pomona last week on Valentine's Day.
Three cars were involved in the early morning crash last Thursday, but 34-year-old Michelle Quessenberry was the only person taken to the hospital as a result, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Rosenfelt.
It was raining when the collision occurred around 12:45 a.m. in the freeway's eastbound lanes west of Kellogg Drive, just outside Pomona's northwest city limits, and Rosenfelt said it doesn’t appear drugs or alcohol were involved.
Quessenberry said she had just gotten off her shift but decided to pull over when she saw a car spin out in front of her and hit the center divider, emitting smoke after impact.
"I helped the two out," Quessenberry said. "I put them over the center divider, and then I went to call 911 and hopped over the center divider."
She said that's when another vehicle approached and hit the car of the pair she'd been helping. Quessenberry said she was thrown into the center divider, then ran over.
"The driver actually pulled me from underneath the car because my head was wedged in between the street and the tire," she said.
Quessenberry was taken to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center with serious injuries including pelvic fractures, broken ribs, a broken collar bone and broken arm.
Fellow nurses who work in the same Covina ER as Quessenberry set up GoFundMe campaign to help cover her medical expenses.
"I feel her whole life she's spent serving: serving in the military, serving her community as an ER nurse," her colleague Dennis Medina said. "I thought maybe it's time we give back to her since she’s given to everybody else."
Another nurse, Lindsay Harris, called Quessenberry "a hero."
"My first thought was, 'Why did she stop?' " Harris said. "But I know why she stopped — because she's a helper bee."
Quessenberry's recovery could take months, but she said she wouldn't act any differently if given the chance to relive the crash.
"I was just doing my job. I wasn’t at work, but I didn’t think twice about it," she said. "If I wouldn't have helped them, then they could’ve been both dead."
Quessenberry said even she's amazed she's alive, and she's been blown away by the support she's received.
"I just thought a card here and there (or) a Facebook message," she said. "But this is amazing."