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Couple credits seat belts for saving them and baby

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TOOELE — A Tooele couple involved in a serious crash said they are alive today because of their seat belts.

Additionally, the woman involved in the crash said the proper use of her seat belt saved her unborn baby's life, too.

On July 27, Melissa Windley called 911 from inside a smashed Honda Accord. She was six months pregnant, disoriented and afraid.

"We went off the freeway, the car is totaled," she told the emergency dispatcher at the time.

Now, she said, "I didn't know what town we were in. All I knew was we were in the trees."

Melissa and her husband, Chris, were passing through Cedar City that day when a record rain-storm hit. As water began to build on the freeway, the car began to hydroplane.

"I felt the front of the tires start to lose traction," Chris said. "I pumped the breaks once and then the back of the car started spinning counter-clockwise."

The car spun off I-15, down a grass embankment and wrapped itself around a large tree.

"I pulled myself out of the back window and saw that the car wasn't on fire," Chris said. "I remember asking her if she was OK and then I passed out."

As people rushed to help Chris, Melissa stayed on the phone with 911. Melissa said because she was properly wearing her seat belt under her pregnant belly, her baby survived the crash.

I remember asking her if she was OK and then I passed out.

–Chris Windley

"The baby would have definitely been killed," she said.

Chris also credits his seat belt for the reason he's alive today.

"If I wasn't seat belted in, if I didn't crush her from the car pushing me over, I probably would have been ejected from the car," he said.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that about two-thirds of all pregnancy trauma in the U.S. is the result of car crashes. When lap belts are improperly worn over the stomach, the pressure during a crash can lead to fetal injury. Worn under the stomach, the risk of injury is reduced.

The Windley's son, Sterling Reese Windley, was born in October, weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces.


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