DAVIE (CBSMiami) — What was supposed to be a magical night full of fun for a group of high school teens on their way to the prom, turned into an adventure they will never forget.
The 20 seniors from Western High in Davie were cruising along I-595 Saturday evening in the back of a Cadillac Escalade limousine when driver Danny Izzi noticed a Honda Odyssey van swerving wildly and crash in front of them near Hiatus Road.
Izzi slammed on the brakes, just missing the van, which had flipped over on impact.
“It was lucky we were there at the right time,” said Izzi.
The teens in limo could hear what was going on outside, as the crying and screaming began to get louder.
The teens and Izzi ran from the limo to the van’s passengers trapped inside.
“Our first reaction was just help them out, just help them out of the vehicle,” said 17-year-old Krista Pulcini. “We didn’t know what happened, how they flipped, how many people were in there.”
Pulcini said it was very chaotic as Izzi and the teens tried to open the van’s doors so they could rescue those inside.
“I saw a lady lying there and she was screaming take my baby and make sure she’s alright,” said another rescuer Peter Kim.
Gerard Jewel, 9, managed to climb out the back door and Somaya Isma, 2, who did not have a seat belt on at the time, was lifted out by one of the teens.
“I heard a lady screaming, I grabbed the lady and I pulled her out and her arm was gashed and you could see the bone sticking out,” said Nick Rivero.
Firefighters and police arrived on the scene and six people were taken to Westside Regional Hospital; one was taken to Broward Health Medical Center.
The seniors still ended up at their school’s prom on Fort Lauderdale beach that night, with an amazing story to tell.
“Thankfully I was the only one with a red dress,” said senior Ashley Wolf. “I had a couple splatters on my gown.”
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) named the injured people on Tuesday. The van’s driver was Karen Exalien, 28, who has been charged with failure to use due care and violation of a child restraint law for the two-year old.
Passengers included Enddey Mareus, 33; Marie Gelin, 55; Mysta Joseph, 30; Merancieuse St. Louis, 61, and the two children, Jewel and Isma. All are from Fort Lauderdale.
No one was seriously hurt according to FHP.