NEWS

Phora Horton demands Hwy 99 improvements after near brush with death

07/12/2015 02:41 EDT | Updated 07/12/2016 05:59 EDT
A B.C. woman is demanding improvements to Highway 99 after her car careened off the road and came dangerously close to tumbling off a cliff.

On June 29, Phora Horton though she was headed for certain death — a long drop off a mountainside into the rushing Fraser River.

"It felt like I was just flying. I wasn't afraid. I just felt like I was just going to see my maker, and I've had a great life."

'It's still a miracle to me'

The 65-year-old's car slid off the Fountain Slide when her wheels caught some lose gravel on Highway 99 just east of Lillooet.

"I just thought that thought, 'I'm seeing heaven.' Then boom, the airbag deployed. Somehow the car was upright."

Instead of rolling down the slope and plunging into the river, one of her wheels caught in a rock fissure.

"That's what saved my life. That fissure. That's what stopped me."

Horton emerged surprisingly unharmed, except for a cracked and bleeding thumbnail, a few cuts and some bruising.

"I was able to get out, open my car door and step right out. It's still a miracle to me."

Demanding province act now

Now, Horton is calling on the province to make highways near Lillooet safer for the 5,000 people living in the area.

"I just was thinking of the children who drive in the school buses and that I work with every day. I could see their faces. I could think of their parents. I could think of all the people that we've lost, and that isn't normal."

"I really felt that urge to speak for the people who have gone over, and for the families that have had to move on, and how it's changed our lives," said Horton, who experienced this kind of loss herself three years ago.

"We need safe roads where we can drive our vehicles and know that they ... are to the standards that we hold for proper transportation."

The Ministry of Transportation is currently doing work to improve road conditions and sight lines on Highway 99.

A petition this winter demanded better roads after a crash just north of Lillooet killed a mother and her seven-year-old son this January. 

The province responded by promising a safety review, but not the immediate barriers or major improvements sought by the community.

To hear Phora tell her whole crash story, listen to the audio labelled: Highway 99 crash survivor demands safety improvements.

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