LEBANON, Tenn. - Talking about it now, knowing just how close she came to dying that day, Elaine Stags admits she in not just lucky she is incredibly lucky.
"I was on my way to New York City when I saw an accident," she recalls.
A nurse to be her instinct on a Connecticut highway exactly a year ago was to stop and help.
But as she stood there on the side of I684 checking a strangers pulse she was hit from behind.
"Another car lost control and hit me and threw me off an overpass," Elaine says.
She survived, but just barely. Massive pieces of her right leg were missing and her left leg wasn't in much better shape.
"I've got metal rods, plates and screws and I have muscle flaps from my abdominal muscles they took those out and put them in my leg and then to get blood to flow there they took out some of my intestines," she adds about the dozens of surgeries doctors had to perform.
The 24-year-old spent months in a New York hospital. Eventually she was transferred to Vanderbilt but doctors told her she wouldn't walk again.
"I told myself I would," she says about the diagnosis.
What happened next is the kind of thing they write about in journals of science and medicine.
"This is just something that shapes me," Elaine explains.
Dozens of reconstructive surgeries, months of physical therapy and then one day in February she stood up and walked again.
"I don't think it will define me, I think it shapes me into part of who I am, but it won't define me," she says proudly.
Elaine's medical bills are in the millions of dollars but so far that's all been covered by the insurance company of the man who hit her.