Locals believe Christmas miracle saved life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Managing Editor

Dec. 20, 1999 10 PM

Dot King of Troy believes angels were sitting on the shoulder of her niece last week when the young woman’s life was saved by a college student who put himself and his small Toyota Tercel in harm’s way to stop a runaway Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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"I don’t know what else to call it but a miracle," King said emotionally. "The good Lord takes care of us sometimes."

King’s niece, Kara Roberts, 28, of Birmingham, was on her way to see her parents, Gail and Terry Linton, formerly of Goshen, at their home in Cullman, Ala., when she apparently passed out at the wheel of her vehicle.

Her Jeep began to collide with the barrier in place on Interstate 65 near Cullman as it bounced back and forth, continuing to move forward at a speed of around 55 miles per hour.

That’s when King believes God intervened, working through Jay Wilson, 30, of Madison, Ala., who was traveling from Tuscaloosa to his home in west Huntsville after he completed his semester exams.

"Kara’s mother, Gail, told me she had a premonition that morning in the shower as she was waiting for her daughter," King said. "She asked him to watch over her only daughter and protect her on the trip."

That prayer was answered, King said, when Wilson saw Roberts in her vehicle and was overcome with a sense of urgency.

According to reports from the Associated Press, Wilson felt as if God had put him there to do something. Shrugging off the fear, Wilson moved his small car in front of the runaway Jeep containing Roberts, who, he said, seemed to be being thrown about the vehicle "like a rag doll."

He began braking his vehicle, allowing the Jeep to slam into his rear end as he sought to slow its rate of speed. After continuing the process for several seconds, both vehicles began to lose control.

As the vehicles hurtled toward a flimsy guardrail, God again looked down and took over, King believes. Wilson came to the conclusion that his small car couldn’t stop the Jeep, but soon he found he didn’t have to force the issue.

A Lowe’s truck driver, Phillip Clay of Vinemont, Ala., saw the two vehicles playing bumper cars and sized up what was happening.

Honking his horn to get Wilson’s attention, the driver motioned Wilson to let him help. Wilson moved his car aside as the truck pulled in front of the Jeep, now rolling out of control at a speed of about 30 miles per hour. Clay put on his brakes and allowed the Jeep to smash into his truck. The collision brought an end to the episode as Roberts’ Jeep came to a stop.

The vehicle was locked and Roberts, the granddaughter of Claudia Linton of Goshen, was inside and was unconscious. All doors to the vehicle were locked. Undaunted, Roberts, Clay and a growing group of travelers that had stopped on the freeway smashed out the back window of the Jeep to gain entry and to remove Roberts from the vehicle.

Several of the travelers worked to revive Roberts while Wilson, exhausted, stepped back and sat down.

It didn’t take long for the ambulance to arrive, King said. Wilson had already called 911 from his car phone.

After the ambulance arrived and began its trip to the hospital, Roberts was revived and the first thing out of her mouth was a shrill scream – her reaction to surrounded by strangers in the ambulance, King said. One of them, a man she had never seen in her life, was Wilson, the student who had saved her.

After her examination at the hospital, Roberts was in for another shock. She had skipped breakfast, which contributed to the spell, doctors believe, but the biggest surprise of all came when she discovered as she was recovering from the accident that she was a month pregnant.

"Those two things are what they believe caused her to pass out," King said.

Battered and bruised, Wilson and Roberts were treated at the hospital and have since been release, free of any serious injuries.

According to wire reports, Wilson told reporters after the accident that he felt as if he had been sent by God to save Roberts from death. "Got put me there," he said.

None of Roberts’ relatives disagree.

"Mr. Wilson said he was there in answer to a prayer," King said. "I know that she did. Kara had angels watching after her that day."