FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — During a global crisis where thousands of people have died, one Piedmont Triad man is thanking God for sparing his life.
Miguel Rivera was driving down Highway 66 in Forsyth County, approaching Watkins Ford Road, when he says his steering wheel locked up on him. It was around 4:40 p.m. Thursday.
“I stomped my brake and I kinda panicked,” he said.
His tires left the road, and went onto the grass, before Rivera says he slammed into a mailbox and then a fence in a family’s backyard.
“I kinda got the steering wheel to go sideways just a little bit,” he details. “Far enough for me to go out and I actually hit the fence again.”
It wasn’t until after he came to a halt that he realized that, at a time where people are being threatened by a virus they can’t see, he almost met his demise thanks to a piece of wood.
“After it happened I was just like, wow. I’m just lucky I didn’t get hurt,” Rivera said.
His car had taken out posts and pickets in two separate portions of the fence. One piece of that fence nearly returned the favor. Measuring several feet, that piece acted more like a spear as it splintered his windshield, stretching from outside to his back seat.
“It went all the way through the middle of my car,” Rivera said. “Right between the seats.”
The wood came within inches of his head and neck.
Minutes earlier, Rivera had dropped off his brother-in-law. If he had still been in the passenger seat, or if someone had been in the back seat, devastation would have been used to describe much more than the debris left behind.
“The people from the house actually came out and they weren’t even worried about the fence,” he said. “They just came out to make sure I was OK.”
In the minutes after the crash, Rivera’s adrenaline wore off and the gravity of what had just happen started to set in.
“I just started feeling nauseous, started sweating really bad. I just, I don’t know, something just came over me and I just kind of shut down,” he said. “I felt like I was passing out pretty much.”
Rivera says he was taken to the hospital to get checked out and he’s OK.
“I’ve been so grateful for everything ever since,” he said. “I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was hug my wife, and I was like, ‘I love you.’”
Troopers say speed wasn’t a factor and Rivera wasn’t impaired. They agree that he may have had a mechanical issue. He was given a ticket.
Rivera says his car is totaled. But, he has a new lease on life.
“Ever since it happened, that’s all I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “Like, wow, I’m just so lucky to be alive. I feel like God’s given me a second chance.”