Crash survivor describes moments before friend's death

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - "I didn't have much time to think about it. The utility poll was coming at me; then, I woke up with a bunch of guys over me," said Kyle Sawyer from his hospital bed at St. Mary's Medical Center.

Those where the paramedics who were surprised to see the 21-year-old open his eyes and start talking. He's now talking to us about the impact that changed his life and left him hospitalized.

He is black and blue, has a fractured neck, pelvis and hip and road rash down his entire back side. But he considers himself lucky because he's still alive.

It was Friday evening when Sawyer, along with driver 19-year-old Anthony Valdesuso and 17-year-old Allie Sheffield were leaving volleyball practice at Forest Hill High School.

Sawyer, a volunteer boys volleyball coach, remembers what his friend of one year said as she sat in the front passenger seat as all three rode down a two-lane stretch of Georgia Avenue south of Forest Hill Boulevard.

"Allie looked over at him and said, 'Can you drive fast please? I've never driven fast before in a Mustang'. He started driving real fast and got it at 110," said Sawyer.

He says they were going 110 miles per hours in a 30 mile per hour zone. Sawyer says the Mustang lost control as the driver tried to pass a car, and, then, over compensated in a soft shoulder losing control of the vehicle. "That's when I started holding on real tight. I was looking out the window. And I saw that utility poll coming."

The 6'4" Sawyer, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was ejected out of the car and landed next to the utilty pole. Valdesuso was not seriously injured.

Sheffield died Saturday due to severe head injuries. Fellow students have erected a make-shift memorial in her honor at the scene of the crash. "It's hard to process; she was always there, and now she's not," said Sawyer.

While Allie's family is planning her funeral, Kyle's relatives are thanking their lucky stars. "I am just thankful that he's alive. We could be burying him or he could have been paralyzed," said his mother Kris Cruz.

"I am so grateful that I am here. Being ejected from a car going 110 miles per hour, 110 that's just unfathomable!" added Sawyer.

Police have not announced any charges. A city spokesman says they are still investigating the accident.