LEBANON, Ind. - A very special day was made even more special this weekend when an Indiana state trooper who met a woman exactly seven years before (in a nearly fatal crash) attended her wedding.
Indiana State Police (ISP) said on Saturday, Trooper Kyle West -- dressed in his ceremonial dress uniform -- watched as Kerri Crane, 30, married Jonah Faulkner in Lebanon, Ind.
Crane and West’s history began on a fateful day exactly seven years before, on Dec. 7, 2006.
On that December 2006 morning, ISP said Trooper West was responding to a crash scene that had drivers stopped on Interstate 65 just a couple miles south of the State Road 334/Zionsville exit.
As West came closer to the rear of the stopped line of traffic, he saw firsthand as a semi in front of him failed to slow down and barreled into the rear of a stopped passenger car -- which forced that car into the semi in front of it. ISP said the crash was so powerful, the car was crushed to ¼ its original size.
The woman in the driver’s seat of that passenger car was the then-23-year-old Kerri Crane.
In the crash, Crane’s upper body had ended up on the rear floor board with her lower body still seat-belted in the mangled driver’s seat.
Trooper West said he knew at the time her injuries were severe -- but what he didn’t know at the time was just how severe and life-threatening her neck and spinal injuries were. West entered the car through the rear window and was able to stabilize Crane until EMS crews arrived.
ISP said West was awarded the Indiana State Police Life-Saving Award for his actions that day, which also led to Crane inviting him to her wedding, held on the seven-year mark of that terrible crash.
“Now, Kerri and Jonah Faulkner will have a joyful reason to celebrate December 7 in future years,” ISP officials said.
The crash Crane was involved in is referred to by authorities as a secondary crash: a crash that happens in a traffic slow-down or stoppage after an initial crash. ISP said 20 percent of all crashes in the nation are secondary and 18 percent of those crashes end in death.
Crane -- with the help of ISP -- was so passionate about saving others from these types of wrecks that she made a video about how her crash changed her life.
Watch that video below. (Mobile users, click here to watch.)