Truck forced off road, woman thrown from vehicle

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
This is the truck Rebecca Raines was riding in when a car ran them off the road, causing the truck to flip several times before Ms. Raines was thrown out of the window.

OKEECHOBEE — Rebecca Raines was a passenger in her friend’s truck headed north on U.S. 98 on March 10 at about 5 p.m. when according to Harry Schock Jr., who was in a vehicle in front of Ms. Raines, two vehicles headed south suddenly decided to attempt to pass a line of cars and both of those vehicles were almost certainly about to hit him head on if he didn’t do something fast. Mr. Schock was able to maneuver off the road and out of their way, but the truck Ms. Raines was in had almost no chance, he said. He could do nothing but watch in horror as the truck veered off the road and into the grass on the side but then came back into the road, flipped over five or six times and then came to rest on the southbound side of the roadway. He said he saw Ms. Raines fly out of the passenger side window and land in the road near the truck. Both of the vehicles that caused the accident continued on without stopping, he said, but he was later told they pulled someone over at Walgreens and did not give him a citation because they could not prove he was the driver involved.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Rebecca Raines was pronounced dead on the scene after being thrown 30 feet in the air and then landing on her face, but emergency medical personnel were able to save her.

A second witness said she was headed south on 98 when a red truck passed her and a line of cars. She said a grey/silver sedan also passed and ran a truck off the road. The four door sedan passed again, she said and ran the other two vehicles off the road, causing the truck to flip over. She saw Ms. Raines as she was thrown out of the window and onto the road and ran to assist.

Ms. Raines said she does not remember a lot about the accident. She remembers closing her eyes because she thought the car in front of them (Mr. Schock’s car) was going to hit the other car, and they would rear-end his car. When she opened them again, they were off the road and then they were flipping over and over. She doesn’t know how many times, “It seemed like so many,” she said. Mr. Schock said five or six. She said she had her seatbelt on, but it did not lock like they are supposed to so it was too loose, and that is why she went flying. There is an investigation going on about that, she explained, but the truck was very old, so they don’t think anything will come of it.

She said she was pronounced dead on the scene, but they were able to bring her back. She had been thrown 30 feet in the air and then landed on concrete on her face, so there was a lot of damage, she explained. She broke her neck. The C1 was fractured. The C2 was completely broken. She had been in a rollover accident several years prior to that and broken her 4,5 and 6, she said. She struggles with short term memory loss, and her jaw and the left side of her skull were broken. Her eye orbital and her sinus plate were broken. Her nose was broken and her teeth were chipped. She had road rash on the entire left side of her body and still can’t feel parts of her face. She also has a lot of nerve damage.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Rebecca Raines is grateful to be alive, no matter how to things still are after the accident that nearly cost her her life. She is pictured here with her son and her niece.

She was life-flighted to Lawnwood, and Mr. Schock, who did not even know them, gave Ms. Raines boyfriend $20 to get gas so he could go to the hospital in Fort Pierce. “My son was freaking out,” she said. “Tony gave him money so he could go because he said it broke his heart to see my son crying while I flew off in a helicopter.” She was unresponsive and they did not think she was going to wake up.

Because she had no insurance, she was only in the hospital for 10 days. They sent her home still coughing up blood. Her dad fought to try to get them to keep her, but they wouldn’t. She had a broken foot too. She said it was a hard recovery. She couldn’t lie down or stand. She had to keep a napkin in her lap because the fluids kept running out, and they had to go buy a walker so she could get around.

Ms. Raines was finally able to get on Medicaid because she no longer has a job, and now she is able to get some of her medical needs met, but it is still difficult she said. Before the accident, she worked as a server at Applebees, but it will be a long time before she is physically able to do that sort of work again. Her boyfriend broke his back at work and has been out of work for quite a while. They struggle to pay the bills and have gas money to get to the doctor. Getting Christmas gifts for her son and her niece, who lives with them, is next to impossible. Her mother moved in to their two-bedroom apartment to help them financially, and she is the only one with any income coming into the house right now, Ms. Raines said. “Things have been hard, but at least I am alive,” she said. They have a go fund me account set up to help with expenses, and the easiest way to find it is to go to the Facebook page of James Bawgus and look for the link.

If you would like to make a donation to help Rebecca Raines and her family, click HERE and you can make a donation to the GoFundMe created for them.

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