The driver and passenger of a "runaway car" on Interstate 81 admit they thought they were going to die. NBC29 had a chance to speak with both of them about their harrowing, high-speed ride.
Driver Amy Guevara and passenger Sean Weis stopped by state police barracks Thursday to thank the sergeant who kept Tuesday's white-knuckled ride from ending in tragedy. They didn't expect to see cameras, but agreed to tell their unforgettable tale.
Guevara was behind the wheel of the car while Sean Weis stayed on the line with emergency dispatchers.
The 19-year-old Blue Ridge Community College students were southbound on I-81 when Guevara's Mazda began accelerating, sometimes exceeding 100 miles per hour.
Near the Mint Spring exit, Sergeant C.J. Aikens slammed the car into a guard rail just seconds after the teens bailed out.
"The car was eventually going to have to crash into something. I had a full tank of gas. The emergency brake wasn't doing anything - it was all the way up. I was alternating between driving, changing it between drive and neutral, and it just kept gaining speed," Guevara said.
Guevara, Weis and Sergeant Aikens suffered only minor injuries.
Aikens is also a state police chaplain, and says he offered up plenty of prayers during the 13-mile ordeal.
Aikens says he quickly moved to disable the runaway car because it was headed across the median into the path of an oncoming minivan and tractor trailer.
State police say a study of the Mazda's black box should show why it went out of control.