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Family loses business after rollover food truck crash on I-64: ‘I can’t believe I survived it’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A mother and business owner continues to recover after surviving a rollover crash inside her food truck on Interstate 64.

Kristina Melendez-Thompson said the crash happened near the merger with I-64 and Route 288 as she was driving to an event in Henrico County on Friday afternoon.

"I felt the truck go up in the air and came back down -- and hit the ground. It bounced like a basketball," Melendez-Thompson remembered. "When it first bounced on the ground I felt the glass just go everywhere, It looked like snow coming into my face."

Melendez-Thompson, along with her son DeMario, operate the Ita's Food Truck. Their one-year anniversary will be August 18.

"I ended up with my back towards the truck and upside down slammed against the truck," she recalled as she jumped out of the truck. "I hit my head and was dangling by my foot with the seat belt."

The food truck's rear tire blew sending the converted postal truck to the shoulder and into the air.

Miraculously, the 41-year-old survived the crash with just a few scrapes and bruises. She walked with a limp because of a gash on her right calf she suffered as the food truck flipped in the air.

She credits numerous strangers, including a nurse, who stopped and rushed to her aid on the side of the busy interstate.

"There was a nurse that was running towards me. I remember she had on grey scrubs. She was talking to me and she helped get me to the side of the highway and calmed me down," Melendez-Thompson recalled with tears in her eyes.

Other Good Samaritans brought her water and helped clean her wounds.

Kristina Melendez-Thompson

"The nurse was using the bottles of water to clean the glass out of my face and my mouth," she said. "I think I was just happy to be alive and someone to be there."

Sadly, very few items inside the Ita's Food Truck were salvageable. The Hanover County family's entire livelihood was destroyed in the crash.

"Fryers, the stove, and the freezer," DeMario Melendez described. "But, just to come back and not crush her was amazing."

The family has insurance, but their future remains uncertain whether they can find another food truck soon.

They have scheduled numerous events including fundraisers to help with back-to-school efforts.

A family friend has created a GoFundMe to help get the business back on the road.

While her income sits in the impound, Melendez-Thompson was fortunate she was able to start over.

"Looking at the windows and the glass and everything that was in there," she recalled. "I can’t believe I survived it."

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