'We could have gotten the pole to our hearts and died'
SALEM, Ore. - Two of the teens who were injured in a car wreck that left their friend impaled with a piece of fence shared their story Friday because they want other teens to learn from what happened.
The condition of the 16-year-old driver, Joshua Martinson, was upgraded Friday after undergoing surgery. He was seriously injured when a fence post went through one of his shoulders and missed his vital organs, according to his friends who were in the car with him. He's now in good condition.
Justine Maggi, who was sitting in the back seat behind Martinson, was released from the hospital Friday. There were two other teens in the car, as well.
"He (Martinson) had surgery last night, and we went and visited him before I came home, and he was able to talk to us," Maggi said.
Police say they believe the teens were speeding down a hill on Ballyntyne Road Thursday afternoon doing something called "hill hopping." That means they were trying to catch air or mimic the feeling of being on a roller coaster. Martinson lost control of the car and crashed into a chain-link fence, according to police.
Maggi admitted they were speeding but she wasn't sure how fast they were going. When the crash happened, she said the fence broke the windows of the car.
She has a six-inch gash in her leg that is one to two inches deep. She thinks she was injured by a part from the driver's seat. She also has some bruises and small cuts. She says doctors pulled small pieces of glass from all over her body.
She says she will eventually need physical therapy on her leg because one of her muscles was torn.
Her friend, Lindsey Botak, was also in the car. She suffered a concussion and has bruises as well. She is on rest until her concussion gets better.
The girls say another boy, Daniel, who was in the passenger seat, walked away with minor injuries.
For the group of Sprague High School students, reality is now sinking in for them: they could have been killed.
"If one of us was sitting closer to the middle, we could have gotten the pole to our hearts and died, so that's still shocking and everything," Maggi said.
Maggi and Botak don't plan on trying anything like that again. They also have a warning for other teen drivers.
"Everyone, please wear seatbelts, because that's probably what saved our lives," Maggi said.
Police say they aren't sure if any charges will be filed against the driver. The juvenile department will handle it since the driver is 16.
Martinson's family released a statement Friday that said in part: "We would like to send our thoughts and prayers out to the other families. We appreciate everybody's prayers for our family and everyone else involved."
Martinson is expected to make a full recovery.