The night of Oct. 5, 2015 started off as any other ordinary night for Erika Wright. Though she had been out partying with friends, Wright made sure her head was level, as she was the designated driver. After making sure her friends got home safely, Wright headed to her own home. 
That’s when things took a turn for the worse. Just five minutes from her home, Wright got into an accident. But this was no ordinary accident. According to Wright, a “wall of water” picked up her car and deposited it nose down by an embankment. As Wright struggled to exit her car, the waters on the street began to rise due to unusually torrential rains that caused flooding in Columbia, S.C. 


When a cement block and a tree hit Wright’s windshield, she knew it was time to try to escape.

“That’s when I kicked the windshield out,” she said to WISTV. “But I couldn’t get out that way because of the current and because there was so much debris at that time. And I was like I don’t want to die in my car, I don’t want my mom to find me in my car."

Eventually, Wright climbed out of her sunroof, but she got swept away by the flood waters. As she was being swept away, she managed to latch on to a tree.

She said she was in the water for nearly four hours before emergency workers were able to come to her aid. She said the Columbia Fire Department and other emergency responders saved her life.

“I’m just very grateful. I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said to WISTV.


Wright revisited the scene of her accident with the WISTV news crew. While filming, the camera crew happened upon wreckage from Wright’s car. 

The piece of Wright’s windshield was still attached to her rear view mirror. The rear view mirror still held the things she had draped around it before the accident—a Hawaiian lei, a pair of passes from DragonCon and a golden cross. 

For Wright, the golden cross, which she had received as a gift years earlier, had more than sentimental value. To her it was a tangible reminder that God was real and despite everything else, He let her live. 

When the WISTV news team asked her what she learned from her ordeal, she said, “You only do get this one life and if you go through this, and you come out of it, you don’t want to waste it.”