I-70 crash survivor says 2 strangers saved her life

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A Denver woman says she’s lucky to be alive after surviving the fiery, deadly crash on Interstate 70 Thursday afternoon.

The details of the tragic wreck are still a little hazy for Leslie Maddox.

“The truck in front of me was smoking really bad and there was fire and there was noise of explosions. I didn’t really understand. I was so dazed,” Maddox said. “I didn’t realize how bad it was until I turned the TV on this morning.”

Maddox says the runaway semitrailer hit her passenger side, which sent her vehicle into multiple cars. Those horrifying moments were all heard by her daughter via Bluetooth.

“All the alarms started going off violently. Then, all of sudden — probably because my Bluetooth went out — we were disconnected,” Maddox said.

She tells FOX31 it’s a miracle that wasn’t their last conversation.

“She was freaking out, obviously. She hears her mom — and if he had hit me from behind, she would have heard my death,” Maddox said with tears in her eyes.

She survived the crash, but says she was still in danger — unable to move from inside her car.

“[I felt] so much pain, because my arm was broken. And my nose was crushed, broken in six different places. I was in shock,” she said.

Maddox says a woman named Meleia, who is about to receive her paramedic certification, helped get her out of the car.

Meleia was in the last car Maddox hit before her car finally came to a stop.

“As a society, we need to come together and show empathy and strength for each other. [Meleia] wasn’t harmed — but if the truck blew, we could have both gone,” Maddox said.

She says another good Samaritan, a man named Lloyd, helped carry her to safety.

“Just as a team, they got me away from the fire and the explosion. And two people were both there worrying more about me than themselves,” Maddox said.

Surgery went well for Maddox, and she expects to be out of the hospital by Saturday night.

The emotional pain of the tragic crash has taken its toll on her, however. She admitted she cried for a long time Friday morning after learning four people had been killed.

“I’m lucky it wasn’t me. I feel sorry for the other people. It’s horrific when tragedies like this happen that maybe could have been prevented,” Maddox said.

Maddox currently works as an assistant graphic designer at Red Rocks Community College.

She found out Friday that Meleia is about to receive her Paramedic Certificate at Red Rocks.

Maddox says she’d like to arrange a time for the two to meet again, so she can properly thank her for helping save her life.

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