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'This was just amazing to see her' | Randolph County teen thanks first responders for saving her life

More than a year after a car crash nearly took a teen's life and months of rehab, she got to say thank you to the first responders who helped save her.

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — It was a moment a Randolph County teen and first responders never could have expected.

More than a year after a car crash nearly took her life, and after months of rehab, she got to say thank you. It was an emotional reunion.

"When I got there I didn't think you were going to make it," Randolph County Sheriff's Deputy David Riffe said.

On January 31, 2021, Lindsey Aldrich was on her way to work at Hardee's but she never made it. First responders found her after she crashed on NC 159 in Randolph County.

"When I drove up and saw the car, my first thought was this is a fatality as bad as the wreck was," Riffe said.

First responders had to use the jaws of life but were able to get the seriously injured teen to the hospital.  

While the scene felt grave, first responders had a glimmer of hope not far from where they worked. The crash happened right near Flag Springs Methodist Church.

"All I could do was just pray," Riffe said.

Lindsey's injuries were extensive. She had a collapsed lung, fractured skull, and paralyzed vocal cords. 

"It's been a long journey but we just thank God. It's really been a miracle, Lindsey's father said.

With rehab, prayers, and endless support, she finally went home in May.

"I'm a lot more physically able to do things than I was considering I couldn't walk for months," Lindsey said.

To see the people who saved her, marked yet another milestone in her recovery.

"It made me feel really good to see everyone and seeing everyone that helped save my life," Lindsey said. "It's just kinda crazy."

It was just as special for those first responders. 

"Most of the time you never see them again, you don't know who you've helped and who you've not," Riffe said. "This was just amazing to see her here."

Linsdey will be going to UNC-Wilmington in the fall. Her goal is to become a nurse so she can help others, especially in the worst of times.