This photo shows Emma Manis, Claudia Calvo and three of their friends out on a Saturday, not too long before their night shifted into a crime scene, with a stranger left dead.
The girls left the park and headed back to the VCU campus, but they ended up on the side of Interstate 95 in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a driver hit the SUV they were riding in and left the scene.
Emma said it started when they noticed a car swerving erratically as it merged onto the interstate. It eventually clipped the front end of their SUV.
The driver of the vehicle Emma was in hit the jersey wall, then ended up in the middle of I-95 southbound. Emma passed out and her friends, including Claudia, were in a panic. They couldn’t get Emma out of the car.
“It was very surreal," Claudia explained. "There was screaming and I remember the smell of gas."
The VCU students said out of nowhere their guardian angel appeared.
“He was telling us to get our seat belts off and get to the side of the road," Emma recounted. "Friends told me he took me out of the seatbelt and threw me over his shoulder and took me to the side of the road."
"I was unconscious at this point," she added.
Moments later, as they stood on the side of the road, another vehicle slammed into their SUV. The driver, VCU student William Presley, did not survive the crash.
Emma said all of the girls are really eager to meet the mystery rescuer so they can properly thank him in person. Emma's mother says she, too is grateful that the stranger took the time to stop and save her daughter and friends.
Police are still hoping for the one lead that will help them track down the driver that started the three-car collision. That’s what Manis and her friends are praying for now.
“That person doesn’t realize the impact they caused because they didn’t stick around to see the whole night play out. I hope they will come forward, turn themselves in and accept the consequences,” Claudia said.
State Police say they are looking for a dark-colored sedan that fled the scene that night. If you were in the I-95 area near Bryan Park and saw that car, you are urged to contact investigators with Virginia State Police.